BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Viola Davis is good in a pinch.
Last year’s best supporting actress Oscar-winner was sipping champagne at the annual Women in Film pre-Oscar cocktail event Friday night when the organization’s president, Cathy Schulman, herself an Oscar-winner for “Crash,” asked Davis if she could give a few remarks.
“I’m only doing this Cathy because I love you,” Davis said before launching into a story about a time when she told her then five-year-old daughter that she was “complicated” and had to explain to her why that was a good thing.
“With all of our imperfections, with all of our complexities and confusion, we’re worth it. This is a year of owning who we are,” Davis said. “Even the women who are still in silence, the women who stepped up and spoke up, the women nominees, the women who could have been, should have been nominees. We’re all worth it. That’s what we need to come into the room with. That’s what we need to go into 2018 and ’19 with. The privilege of a lifetime is being exactly who we are.”
The event’s co-host Emma Stone, who won the best actress Oscar last year, took the stage next.
“No one should ever have to follow Viola Davis,” she sighed.
The event held at the Beverly Hills restaurant Crustacean saw a host of Oscar nominees including Greta Gerwig, Margot Robbie, Agnes Varda, Diane Warren and entertainment bigwigs mingling before Sunday’s big event. Keegan Michael-Key posted up at Davis’s table, before finding “The Big Sick” screenwriting nominees/real-life couple Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. “La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz made the rounds with his wife, director Julia Hart, whose next film “Fast Color” premieres at the SXSW Film Festival in March. And “Battle of the Sexes” actress Andrea Riseborough met “Thoroughbreds” star Anya Taylor-Joy, while Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde roamed the party side-by-side.
This marked the 11th annual Women in Film Pre-Oscar Cocktail party, although the organization has been working to advance women’s careers in film and television since 1973. The organization was one of the first in the #MeToo era to launch a helpline to advise and counsel women who are experiencing sexual harassment or discrimination.
Schulman also noted that there has been a small increase in female nominees at this year’s Oscars, up from 46 to 48, but that there is still work to be done.
“We’re at an absolute tipping point right now,” Schulman said. “And it takes all of us to do the important work necessary to turn this tipping point into actual systemic change so that women’s careers can be long, sustainable and successful.”
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