Barbra Streisand urges women to be bold

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Old 20-Oct-2011
Barbra Streisand urges women to be bold

UNP ImageWhat is so gratifying about insights into the world of an actress, such as those offered at the 18th Elle Women in Hollywood honours Monday? The struggle for equality, the transcendence of performance, the bonds of sisterhood in a ferocious industry?

Perhaps it's simply the knowledge that, according to Reese Witherspoon, they share manicure-and-make-out sessions.

At least that was one of more than a few funny highlights from the event, toasting a pack of women who have pushed boundaries for their craft and gender.

Introducing honoree Jennifer Aniston, Witherspoon celebrated the Friends alum's rare combination of "sex appeal and complete loveability. You want to get your nails done with her, and then make out with her. At least I do.

"That's what we do sometimes on Saturdays," Witherspoon cracked, as the ballroom of the Four Seasons Beverly Hills erupted in laughter. "We get our nails done... and then make out. That's because she's my friend and not yours."

Camaraderie abounded at the dinner, during which honoree and L'Oreal Paris ambassador Freida Pinto sang the praises of Legend Award winner Barbra Streisand, saying Streisand's track Putting it Together helps her persevere. But the focus of the event was work yet to be done for Hollywood females.

"I've learned that you need to just focus on the work," honoree Viola Davis said. "When you show up to set worried about your weight, worried about the success of your last movie, worried about your image you can't do anything. You can't even leave the ground."

Echoing those same sentiments in her acceptance speech, after an introduction from her The Help costar Octavia Spencer, Davis saw the entire room on its feet as a standing ovation was kicked off by Aniston tablemate Chelsea Handler.

Other honorees included Naomi Watts, radiant in Calvin Klein Collection, who told some interesting anecdotes about the nature of roles for women but made room to thank the men in her life: partner Liev Schreiber and their sons, Sasha and Kai.

Elizabeth Olsen was saluted by her Martha Marcy May Marelene costar John Hawkes, Evan Rachel Wood by Robin Wright, DreamWorks honcho Stacey Snider by Jon Hamm, Michelle Pfeiffer by Adam Shankman and finally, Streisand by The Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow to whom Streisand had handed the first best director Oscar ever awarded to a woman.

"[Let's] not wait for the phone to ring," Streisand urged her peers. "It's easier to relax, to not be judged, not to have pressure, no scrutiny, you don't have to face rejection.

"Let's be bold."

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