The 29th annual Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power 100 event by Lifetime was held on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles. Molly Shannon, who started with a humorous opening speech, hosted the event.
"Ladies, it's time to admit that... men also have a point of view that deserves to be heard. They can play the same roles as women have. For example, Matt LeBlanc, here, can wear a bikini and wash a car. Can't you, Matt? Steve Carell can hold up a card with a number on it between rounds at a boxing match. "
Jennifer Aniston was honored with Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, which was presented to her by co-star Steve Carrell. In her acceptance speech, she said, "I got into this business mostly because I wanted to make people laugh…but somewhere along the way, my motivation for being an actor, performer, producer and storyteller deepened because I deepened as a person, and the idea of making some kind of contribution got sparked in me. I've realized that what we get to do as storytellers can be emotionally healing for people. I think stories also help us shine a light on cultural illnesses, like sexual harassment and racial discrimination and gender bias in the workplace. Stories can also give us a much-needed laugh after we do all that heavy lifting, so I'm glad I could be a vitamin of sorts for people out there from time to time." With receiving the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, Jennifer Aniston joins a legendary group of previous honorees, including Oprah Winfrey, Shonda Rhimes, Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, Viola Davis, Barbra Streisand, Jodie Foster, and Barbara Walters.
Selma Blair was honored with the Equity in Entertainment Award, which was presented to her by Golden Globe-winning actress Michelle Pfeiffer. This award is provided to someone who demonstrates commitment towards the inclusion of underrepresented communities in the industry. In her acceptance speech, she said, "My story is but one of many. Disability is not a distant monolith. It is an intractable part of our shared humanity. Everyone in this room knows the power of entertainment to create a sense of community. And it is our responsibility, those of us in this room, to do so. By creating more inclusive content, by telling stories that more authentically represent and include all of us, by being allies in our workspace by setting the bar higher for accessibility standards, by living and working in the intersectionality of our collective human experience, we become worthy of the enormous access and influence we have."
With the support of actresses Halle Bailey, Tessa Thompson, and Kelsea Ballerini, Jennifer Garner led a presentation of scholarships as a part of The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program. The actress presented a full scholarship to Loyola Marymount University underwritten by Sony Pictures Entertainment to student Ailani Anglin (mentor Wendy Luckenbill, head of brand communications at Fox Sports). She added, “Nothing is more powerful than making education and mentorship opportunities accessible to everyone, and that is what the Hollywood Reporter Women in Entertainment mentorship program do. Every girl in this room will receive a $10,000 scholarship to the school of their choice."
Tessa Thompson presented the scholarship to Chapman University, underwritten by The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation, to Ashly Galvan Perez of Kennedy High School (mentor Christine Stillings, manager of ABC Entertainment Marketing at Walt Disney Television). Tessa added, "I want to challenge every studio, network, and agency in this room to step up and support these girls. Because someday these girls are going to be on The Hollywood Reporter Power 100 Women in Entertainment list for the work they are doing for you."
Kelsea Ballerini presented the scholarship to Chapman University underwritten by Spotify to Taya Good Smith of El Segundo High School (mentor Alexis Cooper, VP human resources at A3 Artists Agency). She added, "You know, I can't think of anything better than a morning of sipping a strong cup of coffee in a room full of even stronger women."
Halle Bailey presented Apple MacBook Air laptops to each mentee, provided by the Edie Wasserman Women in Hollywood Fund. ‘Ted Lasso’ fame actresses Hannah Waddingham and Toheeb Jimoh also joined Halle Bailey in distributing the laptops.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, popularly known as the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times Magazine and creator of The 1619 Project, spoke about the importance of safety and equity for women in the entertainment industry and beyond. She said, “These anti-history laws want to render us incapable of understanding the causes of the vast inequality that we see in our country. They want to limit our society’s understanding of itself and instead indoctrinate our students into learning a history of a country that quite frankly has never existed. I am just a Black girl from Waterloo, Iowa, a no-name town in a flyover state. I certainly never imagined one day I would produce a text so dangerous that it is now being banned by name in states such as Georgia, Texas and Florida. In truth, it is my greatest honor — the Pulitzer Prize means nothing, this is my greatest — because people only ban things they fear will unsettle their power. We cannot sit idly by and concede our power as storytellers and our power as citizens and the power that we collectively hold.”
The Hollywood Reporter’s Women In Entertainment Power 100 event, which is organized to celebrate the accomplishments of entertainment leaders and change-makers in the industry, was sponsored by Cadillac, FIJI Water, Amazon Ads, SAG-AFTRA, eOne, and Gersh; and in partnership with Chapman University, Loyola Marymount University, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles.