When, in the first hour of an awards show, Cate Blanchett rushes into the men’s restroom uttering the phrase, “It’s not an act of aggression, but an act of desperation,” as she passes in-use urinals, that’s usually a signal of a good night.
Such was the case at Wednesday’s Crystal + Lucy Awards at the Hyatt Century Plaza, hosted by Women in Film, Los Angeles. Rose Byrne picked up the Max Mara Award, noting, “It’s a powerful business we’re in, and with a loud voice, it’s imperative we realize that women are consumers just as much as men and to have our stories told and our audiences embraced.”
A “Funny or Die” sketch jumpstarted the evening, with a spoof entitled “Men in Film,” which documented the staggering lack of women in the producing, directing and editing fields.
Women in Film chair emeritus Bonnie Spence and founding chair Judith Parker Harris also took the stage early on in the event, in part to raise money to allow the organization even more funds to support filmmakers and other creative people looking to make projects by, about or regarding women.
They rattled off a host of shows and films, including “Scandal,” “Divergent,” “Homeland” and “Frozen,” projects with women at the center.
Excellence in Film honoree Blanchett also reiterated the mission statement in her speech. “We are not gathering because we are niche, but rather because female achievement is still largely discussed as being niche.”
“Scandal” showrunner Shonda Rhimes presented to Excellence in Television honoree Kerry Washington, who turned the thanks back to Rhimes. “I work for a woman, Shonda Rhimes, who because of her courage to step into her light, and step up and own her voice, has provided an opportunity for so many other women to soar, in front of and behind the camera,” she said. “That’s what happens when we step up for ourselves, we create opportunity, whether it’s because we inspire other people or employ other people or both.”
(Pictured: “Scandal” showrunner Shonda Rhimes and Kerry Washington backstage at the Crystal + Lucy Awards)