The event: The Hollywood Reporter’s “Power 100” Women in Entertainment Breakfast, honoring Oprah Winfrey with the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, presented to her by former California First Lady Maria Shriver.
The program: TV host Jimmy Kimmel opened the ceremonies, taking note of “this sea of perfect blowouts” and suggesting “Wouldn’t it be better to rename the event the 100 most powerful people in Hollywood and just not give any of the spots to men?” He then delivered a warning to Kanye West, seated with the Kardashian clan. “Don’t even think about taking this award away from Oprah,” Kimmel said.
Next up were the Hollywood Reporter's editorial director Janice Min, publisher Lynne Segall and Sherry Lansing. Demi Lovato followed by naming participants in the magazine’s mentoring program, a joint venture with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Los Angeles, which pairs high school girls with mentors and awards them $10,000 college scholarships. Lovato surprised the audience by announcing not one, but two winners of full four-year scholarships, valued at $200,000 each, to Loyola Marymount University.
The crowd: The affair, presented by Lifetime, took place at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Wednesday (Dec. 11), the day the magazine released its list of the industry’s top female power players (and coincidentally the same day Screen Actors Guild nominees were announced, including Winfrey, nominated for supporting actress for her role in "Lee Daniels' The Butler").
The packed Beverly Hills ballroom included Anne Sweeney, the co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, who was named No. 1 on the list for the fourth year. Also attending were Nancy Dubuc, president and CEO A+E Networks; Amy Pascal, co-chair, Sony Pictures Entertainment; Donna Langley, chair, Universal Pictures; Sue Kroll, president, worldwide marketing and international distribution, Warner Bros.; Jennifer Salke, president, NBC Entertaiment; Stacey Snider, co-chair and CEO, DreamWorks Studios; Sandra Stern, COO, Lionsgate TV; Jill Leiderman, executive producer, "Jimmy Kimmel Live"; Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO DreamWorks Animation; “The Butler” director Lee Daniels and the film’s screenwriter, Danny Strong.
More familiar to the general public were Jane Fonda, Gayle King, Whitney Cummings, Nikki Reed, Maria Bello, Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Kris Jenner, Naya Rivera, Big Sean, Allison Williams, Amber Valletta, Geena Davis, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Molly Sims, Ahna O’Reilly, Candice Accola, Angie Harmon, Gillian Jacobs, Mandy Moore, Cat Deeley, Alyson Hannigan and Judy Greer.
The presentation: “The woman that we are all honoring here this morning puts the capital ‘I’ in inspiring. She also puts the capital ‘I’ in influence,” Shriver said of Winfrey, continuing with more “I” descriptors: imagination, instruction and impact.
After reciting a list of Winfrey’s many accomplishments, Shriver asked Winfrey to think back on her life from her birthplace in Mississippi to President Obama presenting her with the Medal of Freedom last month. “Think back to how hard you’ve worked, how many mountains you have climbed, how many scary, scary things you’ve pushed through, how many people you have proved wrong, how many people you have inspired,” she said.
The acceptance: “That beats a eulogy, I gotta tell you. It really does,” said Winfrey. “I mean, good Lord. And you’re alive to hear it.”
Winfrey defined power as “strength over time. That means strength times strength, times strength, times strength equals power.”
She talked of seeing herself on the cover of the Hollywood Reporter's “rule breakers” issue. “When I saw the title of the cover, it brought tears to my eyes because my cover line was ‘innovator.’ And I thought, ‘Is that what this was? I’m a rule breaker and an innovator?’ I just thought I was getting my [rear] kicked.”
She concluded with the importance of using power to better the lives of others. “That is the true purpose of leadership,” she said. “How do you use your life to elevate the life of somebody else? That’s what everybody in this room has been called to do.”
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