Despite Friday-the-13th jitters and jokes, the 21st anniversary Women in Film Crystal Awards proceeded without a hitch. Diane Keaton, Bette Midler and Goldie Hawn were honorees this year for their $100 million-plus box office success in “The First Wives Club.”
The show had a decidedly comedic bent, with emcee Phil Hartman opening the proceedings crowing, “I’m so proud to be a woman in film.”
Fox 2000 president Laura Ziskin presented the Intl. Crystal Award to editor Ann Coates, who won an Academy Award for “Lawrence of Arabia.” Coates says it is disconcerting to be viewed as a pioneer woman in film when she never really encountered any prejudice due to her gender.
Cinematographer Alan Daviau (“E.T.,” “Bugsy,” “Empire of the Sun”) presented the Kodak Vision Award for outstanding emerging filmmaker to Nancy Schreiber, who continued on the theme Coates started. “It never occurred to me it might be impossible. I’ve been called a woman cameraman, but semantics don’t matter. Kodak respected me as a cinematographer, not as a woman photographer.”
Presenter Steve Martin sang Goldie Hawn’s praises, then added, “I’m lucky to be presenting with my male genitalia and hairy legs.”
Hawn — on location in Texas — sent a video message in her place. The short piece shows her trying to thank Women in Film, while she is interrupted throughout — only to make the point, “The greatest thing about Women in Film is that we can do it all, if only they’d leave me alone.”
Joe Roth, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, presented to Diane Keaton. Roth used the opportunity to say, “From the movie side, the war is over. The words, ‘should we have a woman do this picture’ are completely out of my vocabulary. It’s totally about selling tickets, not about gender.”
Keaton’s acceptance speech addressed the process of aging for women in Hollywood. “There is no denying getting old is hard. It makes you think about endings.” However, she said it’s time to give something back and stop discriminating against old people, starting with herself.
“We can put a new spin on what it means to be old,” she said, paying respects to Jessica Tandy’s quality of spirit.
Carl Reiner presented to Bette Midler, calling her a “Hawaiian Jewish princess” and the greatest “prancer” of all time. Midler thanked WIFs everywhere and added her two cents about aging. “An artist doesn’t stop being an artist just because you reach a certain age. The industry may not know it, but audiences do.”
The show ended with the Norma Zarky Humanitarian Award, which went to husband-and-wife team Rob and Michele Reiner, and was presented by Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.).