Jennifer Aniston, Barbra Streisand rock Elle Women in Hollywood


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What is so gratifying about insights into the world of an actress, such as those offered at the 18th Elle Women in Hollywood honors Monday? The struggle for equality, the transcendence of performance, the bonds of sisterhood in a ferocious industry?

Perhaps it’s simply the knowledge that, according to Reese Witherspoon, they share manicure-and-makeout sessions.


At least that was one of more than a few funny highlights from the event, toasting a pack of women who have pushed boundaries for their craft and gender.

PHOTOS: 2011 Elle Women in Hollywood

Introducing honoree Jennifer Aniston, Witherspoon celebrated the ‘Friends’ alum’s rare combination of ‘sex appeal and complete loveability. You want to get your nails done with her, and then make out with her. At least I do.’

‘That’s what we do sometimes on Saturdays,’ Witherspoon cracked, as the ballroom of the Four Seasons Beverly Hills erupted in laughter. ‘We get our nails done ... and then make out. That’s because she’s my friend and not yours.’

Camaraderie abounded at the dinner, during which honoree and L’Oreal Paris ambassador Freida Pinto sang the praises of Legend Award winner Barbra Streisand, saying Streisand’s track ‘Putting It Together’ helps her persevere. But the focus of the event was work yet to be done for Hollywood females.

‘I’ve learned ... that you need to just focus on the work,’ honoree Viola Davis told us. ‘When you show up to set worried about your weight, worried about the success of your last movie, worried about your image you can’t do anything. You can’t even leave the ground.’


Echoing those same sentiments in her acceptance speech, after an introduction from her ‘The Help’ costar Octavia Spencer, Davis saw the entire room on its feet as a standing ovation was kicked off by Aniston tablemate Chelsea Handler.

Other honorees included Naomi Watts, radiant in Calvin Klein Collection, who told some interesting anecdotes about the nature of roles for women but made room to thank the men in her life: partner Liev Schreiber and their sons, Sasha and Kai.

Elizabeth Olsen was saluted by her ‘Martha Marcy May Marelne’ costar John Hawkes, Evan Rachel Wood by Robin Wright, DreamWorks honcho Stacey Snider by Jon Hamm, Michelle Pfeiffer by Adam Shankman and finally, Streisand by ‘The Hurt Locker’ director Kathryn Bigelow -- to whom Streisand had handed the first best director Oscar ever awarded to a woman.

‘[Let’s] not wait for the phone to ring,’ Streisand urged her peers. ‘It’s easier to relax, to not be judged, not to have pressure, no scrutiny, you don’t have to face rejection.’

‘Let’s be bold,’ Streisand said.


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-- Matt Donnelly

Top photo: From left, Naomi Watts, Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Aniston, Elle editor-in-chief Robbie Myers, Stacey Snider, Freida Pinto and Evan Rachel Wood at the Elle Women in Hollywood honors. Credit: Getty Images