With Oscar balloting having closed, the female nominees took time out of their busy schedules to attend an intimate luncheon thrown by designer Diane von Furstenberg on Wednesday afternoon. Co-hosted by two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank and Anne Sweeney, the event was held at von Furstenberg’s Beverly Hills home and offered an easygoing respite from the madness of awards season.
Greeting attendees as they arrived, von Furstenberg revealed, “There are 44 women nominated this year, and 20 are here today.” Those women included A-listers like Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon and Rosamund Pike, whose new baby Atom was the only male in the room. But the guest list wasn’t limited to famous faces; von Furstenberg invited every female nominee, from sound editors to documentary short subject directors in a show of female solidarity and camaraderie.
“I know how busy everyone is this time of year, and I’m so grateful that everyone could find time to take an afternoon off and be here today,” said von Furstenberg. But it was the attendees who seemed most grateful, taking time to enjoy a gorgeous afternoon surrounded by other women, many of whom they’ve worked with or admired for years.
The belle of the ball was undoubtedly Streep; many were lining up to talk to and take photos with the gracious 19-time nominee, who, von Furstenberg noted, “is a big supporter of women. Whenever women are involved, Meryl is there. She shows up.”
After a buffet lunch where guests lounged in the living room and backyard, von Furstenberg took time to give a speech, explaining that this was the second year in a row that she’d held this luncheon. “The first one came about kind of by accident,” she noted, explaining she had a meeting with the Academy last year to discuss doing something in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of her infamous wrap dress. After discussing with Academy CEO Dawn Hudson that there was no such event to honor the women, they came up with the idea to throw the party last year, co-hosted by Anne Hathaway. Now, von Furstenberg plans to make it an annual event.
Von Furstenberg took time to introduce every attendee, even non-nominees, and when she passed the microphone to Swank, the actress said, “I think you’ve said everything there is to say!” Von Furstenberg insisted that Streep say a few words, and the three-time Oscar winner praised von Furstenberg for all she’s done for women, such as contributing to the Vital Voices network and its Women in the World Conference. “You put your money where your mouth is!” proclaimed Streep. She then added that it was exciting to see so many women nominees in one room. “And next year I want to see the entire grounds covered in nominees!”