Women’s resilience in the face of adversity and low expectations was the theme of Thursday night, as Variety and Lifetime toasted four of the entertainment industry’s brightest stars in the annual edition Women’s power event.
Fantasia Barrino, star of the upcoming Warner Bros. remake of “The Color Purple,” dedicated her praise of the power of women to Celie, the sadly mistreated character she plays in the film, as well as her own daughter. Barrino made no secret of her emotions after none other than Oprah Winfrey, who co-starred in the 1985 film adaptation of Alice Walker’s novel and is a producer on the remake, introduced her with many superlatives.
“Watching Fantasia reincarnate, reimagine and reinvent Celie for our movie was to witness triumph in action,” Winfrey told the packed crowd at the dinner ceremony held at Mother Wolf in Hollywood.
“This award is for Celie, my daughter and all the young girls who are going to go through some things,” Barrino said. “But it doesn’t matter what you go through, darling. We fall but we get up. Search me on Google. “I fell, but I’m up.”
Barrino’s message resonated throughout the night among the other honorees. Billie Eilish, lily gladstone and Carey Mulligan He spoke from the heart about lives and his philanthropic passions. Also honored were Emily Blunt, who received the inaugural Power of Women alumni recognition, and the team behind Luckychap, the busy production company run by Margot Robbie, Josey McNamara and Tom Ackerley, who is married to Robbie.
Robbie was present at the event, but his voice was not up to par. So he wrote a speech for McNamara and Ackerley to deliver with a mix of heart and humor.
“The only thing I love more than seeing women supporting women is seeing men supporting women, and I’ve watched for the past 10 years as these two guys have dedicated their careers to supporting women and nothing could make me love them more.” Ackerley said. , speaking on behalf of his wife.
Robbie, of course, headlined the biggest box office hit of the year, “Barbie,” which was also well-represented. Accompanied by her brother and frequent collaborator Finneas on keyboard, Eilish offered a stripped-down performance of her ballad “What Was I Made For?” of the movie. The surprise performance led more than a few high-powered executives to capture the moment on their phones.
Eilish bared her soul while accepting his congratulations and told the crowd that she had been feeling very emotional while taking the steroid prednisone. The 21-year-old, who has grown up in the public eye over the past decade, said she was coming to terms with her identity as a woman.
“I have never truly felt like a woman. “I’ve spent a lot of my life not feeling like I fit in as a woman,” Eilish said. “This sounds a bit fucked up, but I have a lot of internalized misogyny inside me and I find it coming out in places I don’t want it to. And I have to say, with complete transparency, that I feel very grateful to be a woman right now. “I feel very proud and very honored to be here.”
The crowd remained nearly silent as Gladstone, star of “Killers of the Flower Moon,” offered a testament to the unique struggles faced by Native women in the U.S., given the disconnect between the government of more than 500 tribes and the local police. A murmur of shock spread through the room when Gladstone stated that about four in five Native women will experience “some form of violence at the hands of a romantic partner.” In a nod to the “Murderers” theme, he noted the FBI’s unique status with respect to reservation crimes.
“The only people who have the authority to do something about it don’t do anything,” he said. “The people left to do something about it are these women here.” Gladstone highlighted the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center as a vital lifeline for thousands of women in crisis. The center focuses “on getting these survivor stories in front of policymakers, in front of people who have the power to implement some real change and give our people what we need to protect ourselves. The minimum.”
Gladstone was introduced by her “Killers” co-star Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays an FBI agent in the 1930s-set film. He credited DCaprio for forcing changes to the story and script to avoid the trope of the “white savior” and put emphasis on the shocking violence and discrimination against the Osage Nation in Oklahoma. (Long before DiCaprio took the stage to pay tribute to Gladstone, Barrino drew attention to his presence during his speech when he stopped mid-sentence to point at the actor and say, “Hello! I love you!”) .
“Lily is not just an actress. She is also an activist who really draws others to her like she did to me,” DiCaprio said. “Her tireless and passionate efforts reflect a commitment to rectifying systemic problems within our country and tribal communities.”
“Maestro” star Mulligan was acclaimed for her work as an ambassador and fundraising driver for War Child UK. and its American subsidiary. War Child UK chief executive Rob Williams joined Mulligan at the event, where she was introduced by actress and director Emerald Fennell.
After making trips to conflict zones on behalf of the organization, Mulligan said it highlighted the privilege of raising children in a relatively safe environment. She compared her concerns about protecting her young son and daughter from inappropriate videos on social media with those of parents elsewhere.
“Imagine the concerns of a mother in a conflict zone,” Mulligan said. “Her concerns might be something more like this: What happens if my son sees a member of her family shot? What happens if my son’s best friend dies in an air raid? What happens if my house is destroyed and we have to flee to a refugee camp? What happens if my child is kidnapped? These are not hypotheticals. I know this because I have met countless parents in Ukraine, Iraq, Jordan, the Syrian border, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo who have to consider these questions. These are questions that parents are asking themselves tonight, right now, as we sit here.”
In its 15th year, Lifetime introduced Power of Women, with Wells Fargo and Cadillac as lead partners. Musical supervision for the night was provided by DJ Daisy O’Dell.
(Pictured: Carey Mulligan, Lily Gladstone, Fantasia Barrino and Billie Eilish)