It's all about celebrating Hollywood's wonder women (and a few guys) at Women in Film's Crystal + Lucy Awards
By Ellen Olivier
Jun 16, 2017 | 11:10 AM
As host of Women in Film’s Crystal + Lucy Awards, Jessica Williams lamented the lack of films about complicated, multidimensional women, while “every white male in America has had 14 movies based on something that closely resembles his specific life.”
“If he woke up on a Tuesday and went to go buy some Doritos from Ralph’s, there would be a movie about that,” she said.
The former “Daily Show” correspondent then pointed out that “at least we finally got ‘Wonder Woman’ under our golden belts — finally, seriously — we just had to get through all of the ‘Spider-Man,’ ‘Superman,’ ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Captain America,’ ‘Wolverine,’ ‘Hellboy,’ ‘Crow,’ ‘Blade,’ ‘[Batman &] Robin,’ ‘Steel,’ ‘Daredevil,’ ‘Zorro,’ ‘Hulk,’ ‘Thor,’ ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,’ ‘Ant-Man,’ ‘Punisher’ and ‘Underdog’ movies first.”
Held at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, the June 13 benefit for Women in Film, sponsored by Max Mara and BMW, celebrated top women in entertainment as well as, this year, a few men in the spotlight. Honors went to Elizabeth Banks for excellence in film; Tracee Ellis Ross for excellence in television; Zoey Deutch as the Max Mara Face of the Future; and director Mira Nair of “Monsoon Wedding” and “Queen of Katwe,” among other films. (Nair received the BMW Dorothy Arzner Directors Award.)
In addition, journalist Dan Rather and Sony Pictures Classics co-Presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard received awards.
In her acceptance, Banks said she’d planned to name drop, “but there’s been so much name-dropping tonight,” noting that former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, former First Lady Michelle Obama and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) had all sent video messages. “I mean Hillary ... Clinton just helped to present an award to me,” she said.
The “Pitch Perfect 2” director then talked of the importance of getting men involved in solving the problem of female representation on film. “[Women] can’t do it by ourselves,” she said. “We need dudes. We need the guys. … It’s our responsibility as women to bring the men along.”
Referring to boys as well as men, she said, “Give them the experience of seeing amazing women on film.” Her own boys, she said, were “too young to see ‘Wonder Woman’ — but they’re going to love it.”
For her part, Clinton not only congratulated Banks via a video message, but she too referenced “Wonder Woman,” which she said she plans to see. “Something tells me that a movie about a strong, powerful woman fighting to save the world from a massive, international disaster is right up my alley,” Clinton said.
And speaking of Clinton, Sony Pictures Classics’ Bernard said to the industry-heavy audience, “Hollywood is a community where Hillary Clinton probably won 90% of the vote, and yet roughly 90% of the directors branch [of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences] are men. So if you support having a woman in charge of the country, support having more women in charge of your films.”
In her video message, Obama commented on honoree Ross’ talent, calling the “black-ish” star “an inspiration for folks across this country,” adding, “the work you are doing off-screen is just as remarkable, from empowering our girls to educating people about the importance of voting.”
Surprised by the former first lady’s tribute, a visibly shaken Ross had tears well up in her eyes.
In his acceptance speech, Rather said he had to attend the Crystal + Lucy Awards just to praise Women in Film and its efforts.
“We see and hear every day … and read in the headlines of the day inflammatory, divisive language, boorish behavior to say the least, of too many of our national leaders,” said the former CBS News anchor. “I am here humbly, respectfully to remind you that your country, our beloved country and the world needs you and the work you do … perhaps now more than ever.”
An A-list of presenters included Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley, TV personality Aisha Tyler, Max Mara brand ambassador and European retail director of development Nicola Maramotti, Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o, Robert Redford (who played Rather in “Truth”) and Jacki Weaver of “Silver Linings Playbook.”
Also on hand to salute honorees were Women in Film President Cathy Schulman, Executive Director Kirsten Schaffer, gala chair Iris Grossman, as well as Michaela Watkins, Brittany Snow, Justin Baldoni, Lake Bell, SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris, Amy Landecker, Kate Flannery, Christine Lahti, Lea Thompson (mother of Deutch), Logan Browning and more.
Although final figures haven’t been released (an auction that’s part of the gala will continue for a few more months), 900 guests purchased tickets beginning at $500, or tables ranging up to $50,000, to support the organization’s advocacy, education, scholarship and film finishing fund programs to advance the careers of women in the screen industries.
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