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Power of Women lunch celebrates Octavia Spencer, Priyanka Chopra, Michelle Pfeiffer and others

From the podium at Variety’s Power of Women event, host Judd Apatow told the invitation-only audience of Hollywood insiders that he’d been given the OK to “go for it.”

And he did just that, taking on newsmakers including fired movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, director James Cameron and President Trump during a luncheon that celebrated the philanthropic efforts of actresses Priyanka Chopra, Octavia Spencer and Michelle Pfeiffer as well as singer/songwriter Kelly Clarkson and “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins.

“Women did a lot of powerful things this week, don’t you think?” said the “Trainwreck” director on Friday, giving a shout-out to the journalists who broke the Weinstein story and all the women who spoke up in the widening sexual assault and harassment scandal involving the producer, “ending this nightmare and preventing other people from being victimized by him.

“It takes no effort not to be a creep,” Apatow said, before joking, “I’ve never pushed Seth Rogen to give me a back massage or tried to get Paul Rudd in the tub. … If I’m in the office and the door is closed, my staff knows I’m secretly eating red velvet cupcakes.”

Apatow said fatherhood wasn’t required to take offense by these recent assault scandals that have hit Hollywood. “As the owner of a bird, I think this is horrible,” he said.

Apatow didn’t spare “Avatar” director Cameron about his vocal criticism of the fan favorite, box office hit “Wonder Woman.” “Poor James Cameron,” Apatow said. “Got a little jealous when ‘Wonder Woman’ became a huge hit. His ego got a little hurt when we weren’t talking about his movie [from] 1991.”

And as for Trump, Apatow said, “We want him to go away, don’t we?”


The event

Judd Apatow onstage during Variety's Power of Women luncheon in Beverly Hills.
Judd Apatow onstage during Variety's Power of Women luncheon in Beverly Hills. Michael Buckner / Variety/REX/Shutterstock

The Friday affair, which was at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and presented by Lifetime, recognized the philanthropy of Chopra for her work with UNICEF, Spencer for City Year, Pfeiffer for the Environmental Working Group, Clarkson for her work with the XQ Institute and Jenkins for the Anti-Recidivism Coalition. Additional awards were given to Salesforce Chairman and Chief Executive Marc Benioff and Sato Project founder and President Chrissy Beckles.

The crowd

Gwyneth Paltrow took turns with Gal Gadot, Blake Shelton, Viola Davis, Nikki Reed, Arianna Huffington and 16-year-old Ava Cardoso-Smith introducing the honorees at Variety's Power of Women luncheon.
Gwyneth Paltrow took turns with Gal Gadot, Blake Shelton, Viola Davis, Nikki Reed, Arianna Huffington and 16-year-old Ava Cardoso-Smith introducing the honorees at Variety's Power of Women luncheon. Richard Shotwell / Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Gwyneth Paltrow, Gal Gadot, Blake Shelton, Viola Davis, Nikki Reed, Arianna Huffington and 16-year-old Ava Cardoso-Smith, who represented UNICEF, took turns onstage introducing the honorees, while Variety co-editor-in-chief Claudia Eller and publisher Michelle Sobrino-Stearns welcomed an audience that included Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich, Ashley Tisdale, Chrissy Metz, Brandy, Jaime King, Emmanuelle Chriqui and Constance Zimmer.

The scene

Viola Davis onstage at Variety's Power of Women luncheon.
Viola Davis onstage at Variety's Power of Women luncheon. Richard Shotwell / Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Guests at the luncheon caught up with friends and colleagues and checked out several charity and sponsor event displays, which included an Audi TT RS coupe parked in the reception area of the hotel and booths for Dermstore, Moroccanoil and the Venetian Las Vegas, where bracelet maker MyIntent custom-crafted charms in a choice of words such as “fearless,” “strength” and “blessed.”

The quote

Honoree Kelly Clarkson tells a story about the power of "Wonder Woman" during Variety's Power of Women luncheon in Beverly Hills.
Honoree Kelly Clarkson tells a story about the power of "Wonder Woman" during Variety's Power of Women luncheon in Beverly Hills. Variety/REX/Shutterstock

After gushing over seeing “Wonder Woman” star Gadot, Clarkson considered how the story about the fearless Amazonian princess stacked up against the story of a popular children’s tale as old as time. “I mean the story of ‘[Beauty] and the Beast’ — it’s a little scary. [Belle] was in a dungeon, trapped, and then they fell in love.” The recording artist then said her 3-year-old daughter loved “Wonder Woman,” and after seeing the film, she “started acting it out, and I couldn’t have been more proud. … ’Cause you’re like, ‘You’re cute in the Belle dress’ but you’re more proud when she’s like [swinging a sword].”

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