Elle Magazine celebrated the women of Hollywood at its annual event on Monday evening. The honorees included: Naomi Watts, Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Aniston, Stacey Snider, Freida Pinto, Evan Rachel Wood and Elizabeth Olsen. This event is one of the few opportunities for the visible women in Hollywood to talk about the issues that effect women.
But this is Hollywood and it was a lovefest as these events usually are, but the inclusion of Streisand gave the younger actors especially Freida Pinto an opportunity to talk about how much she has meant to them. Pinto said to Streisand that her song Putting it Together is “like a reality check that every girl that wants to get into this big entertainment industry needs to listen to.
Streisand who was introduced by Kathryn Bigelow (remember it was Streisand who announced Bigelow’s Oscar win) said that Streisand is “a world icon” and “somebody who has mastered virtually every art form imaginable: directing, acting, composing, singing, producing, writing.”
Streisand had a couple of words of wisdom for the audience and also commented on the fact that most of her fellow honorees were so thin. She also pushed people and reminded them of how few directors work in Hollywood and said “let’s be bold and don’t wait for the phone to ring…Create your own material. Tell me a story.”
What’s so great about Viola Davis being honored, and the fact that she is going to be on the awards circuit for The Help, is that we finally get someone to talk about issues related to women of color. Here’s what she had to say:
What keeps me in the business is hope, and that’s the hope that women of color are also part of the narrative…(I’m) sending a telepathic message to you: Every time some young actress of color comes in a room with a character they’re auditioning for that’s not ethnically specific, that you have a space in your brain that can open up and embrace them and allow them in, because I’m telling you, their lives are just as fascinating and multifaceted.
She also said in the magazine about whether the quality of roles have increased since her Oscar nomination for Doubt:
If I’m honest, I would say no. The money changed. The visibility changed. The quality of the roles? No. I’ve been blessed to have been cast in some imaginative roles, but there’s generally a lack of opportunity for women of color in Hollywood.
In her comments Naomi Watts included a story about a phone call she got from her agent with an offer for her full quote (for the first time in five years) which she was excited about…until she read the script. Here’s what she said:
It was probably the most chauvinistic, exploitive, badly written, steaming pile of crap. Nonetheless I would be given back all my studio muscle provided I used it to beat another woman senseless and get so turned on by that thrashing that I would have to have urgent sex with my 60 year old male costar whose buttox were to be played by a gymnast. I’m still deciding whether or not I should take that job.
These are the choices that women in Hollywood have to make.