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by on October 19, 2011

Actresses and female filmmakers threw on some Calvin Klein and converged at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons Monday night for Elle magazine’s annual “Women in Hollywood” event. Twas a mutual admiration society as Barbra Streisand, Michelle Pfeiffer, Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow, Laura Dern, Viola Davis, Naomi Watts, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston mingled with the new kids on the block, including Evan Rachel Wood, Freida Pinto, Elizabeth Olsen, Amanda Heard and Chloe Moretz.

Olsen cherished meeting Pfeiffer, whom she claims was “one of the reasons I wanted to become an actor.”  While Wood remembered brandishing a jump rope as a whip pretending to be Catwoman, like every little girl — or sexually-confused little boy — did after seeing Pfeiffer claw up the screen in Batman Returns.

Pinto, meanwhile, gushed over a crushed velvet-wearing Streisand: “I can’t believe you are right here in front of me. You’re not only a legend in Hollywood, but literally all over the world. I can say that because I come from India.” Streisand wasn’t short on praise — she never is, if everyone knows what’s good for them. Bigelow, the first woman to win a Best Directing Oscar, praised Babs as “somebody who has mastered virtually every art form imaginable: directing, acting, composing, singing, producing, writing.”

The legend, however, was quick to point out that out of the 250 films released last year, women directed only 7 percent and wrote only 10 percent. Aside from the glass ceiling behind the camera, Viola Davis emphasized diversity in front of it — or lack thereof.  “You don’t always love what you do,” she said during her speech, “but what keeps me in the business is hope, and that’s the hope that women of color are also part of the narrative.” [WWD]


Babs Streisand and Jimmy Brolin


Contributed by Lester Brathwaite

I was center square from 1969 to 1978, during which I perfected the art of the zing as well as a crippling cocaine addiction. Bea Arthur was responsible for both. @LesFabian lester dot brathwaite at gmail