Meryl Streep led a procession of female stars through last night’s annual Women in Film pre-Oscar party at Nightingale Plaza here in L.A. In the celebratory room: Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Catherine Hardwicke, Freida Pinto, Michelle Dockery, Gaby Hoffman, Sharon Lawrence, Jenny Slate, Zoe Kravitz and industry VIPS Warner Brothers Sue Kroll, Universal’s Hollace Davids, Directors Catherine Hardwicke, Kimberly Pierce, Elisa Pugliese.
There were even men including Keegan Michael Key and Oscar nominee Viggo Mortenson.
Streep spoke first and joked about her famous Golden Globes speech. “I feel like never saying anything again,” she said. Then she switched gears. “Everybody is speaking up and that’s great. They can’t ignore us, we’re 52% of the population.” She went on praise the group: “This organization is absolutely wonderful and absolutely necessary.” Streep relayed a story of how when she was in high school she knew a foreign exchange student from Afghanistan. “I remember him telling me that something like 70 % of the civil servant jobs then were held by women. Look at the change since then. Stuff can change. You have to feel the earth move under your feet and act. I give credit to Ava (“Selma” director Ava DuVernay) she knows how to rouse us all.”
Duvernay followed Streep and said emphatically, “We are coming together. Revolution. Our ancestors brought us here and we have to fight. To continue to hold hands and stand by each other.”
WIF president Cathy Schulman thanked both women and said of Meryl, “Meryl comes every year, because she’s nominated every year. But I still take it as a personal compliment.” Schulman then noted, “We have 46 women nominees here. We get to celebrate tonight, but we spend the rest of the year working on our plan to create sustainable change. We have a new program called ‘Reframe.’ Industry leaders are going into the halls and walls of the decision makers and demanding change. We’re working towards changing cultural biases.”
Last year’s Oscar winner for Best Actress Brie Larson then spoke honestly about her journey. “I still feel I’m on the cusp of being a real woman. I didn’t really become an actor until last year. To be brave and go outside of the clichés. Lets share our stories, talk about what women talk about, incubate all of this and make something amazing. Artists are the ones that politicians fear the most, so let’s do it. “
Many more graced this classy event for a forward thinking and moving group that is well on their way to get deserving women the equality in Hollywood they are well overdue.