A Trailblazing Tribute to Leaders of Hollywood at Women in Film Bash

By Norah Bradford

by ELYSIAN Magazine

This spring the leading figures of Hollywood came together to celebrate female trailblazers at the 16th Annual Women in Film Oscar Party.

“Being the first is a significant moment for the advancement in equality, as several of this year’s nominees know well. Women In Film was the first organization founded by a group of women who want to make a difference for gender equality in Hollywood,” Oscar-winning actor Marlee Matlin stated during the ceremony. “The work that Women in Film and all the advocates for equality do is so important because one day we want to stop celebrating firsts.” 

The splendid affair was a cocktail party presented by Johnnie Walker, Max Mara, and Mercedes-Benz that honored the accomplishments of all women in entertainment this year. The annual event celebrates the belief that collaboration between women, behind and in front of the camera, is the best way to ensure more films are made by and for women. 

WIF champions women’s success stories in Hollywood through initiatives including the #VoteForWomen campaign and awarding of the ReFrame Stamp for gender-balanced productions in collaboration with Sundance Institute and IMDbPro. Paying tribute to the 65 female Oscar nominees, hundreds of guests attended the glorious party at NeueHouse Hollywood. Well-known as the only event celebrating all the women nominated for Academy Awards, the night was co-hosted by and WIF Board President Emerita Cathy Schulman as well as Matlin and director and Oscar-winning screenwriter Siân Heder, recipients of the 2021 WIF Crystal Award for Advocacy. 

Nominated attendees included Anne Alvergue (Best Documentary Short Film, The Martha Mitchell Effect), Gail Berman (Best Picture, Elvis), Annemarie Bradley-Sherron (Best Makeup & Hairstyling, The Whale), Ruth E. Carter (Best Costume Design, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), Lindsey Collins (Best Animated Feature, Turning Red), Sara Dosa (Best Documentary Feature, Fire of Love), Bev Dunn (Best Production Design, Elvis), Linda Eisenhamerová (Best Makeup & Hairstyling, All Quiet on the Western Front), Ina Fichman (Best Documentary Feature, Fire of Love), Camille Friend (Best Makeup & Hairstyling, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), Nan Goldin (Best Documentary Feature, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed), Kartiki Gonsalves (Best Documentary Short Film, The Elephant Whisperers), Sara Gunnarsdóttir (Best Animated Short Film, My Year of Dicks), Ernestine Hipper (Best Production Design, All Quiet on the Western Front), Shirley Kurata (Best Costume Design, Everything Everywhere All at Once), Beth Levison (Best Documentary Short Film, The Martha Mitchell Effect), Catherine Martin (Best Picture, Elvis), Florencia Martin (Best Production Design, Babylon), Melanie Miller (Best Feature Documentary, Navalny), Guneet Monga (Best Documentary Short Film, The Elephant Whisperers), Lesley Paterson (Best Adapted Screenplay, All Quiet on the Western Front), Sarah Polley (Best Adapted Screenplay, Women Talking), Rebecca Pruzan (Best Live-Action Short Film, Ivalu), Odessa Rae (Best Feature Documentary, Navalny), Pamela Ribon (Best Animated Short Film, My Year of Dicks), Domee Shi (Best Animated Feature, Turning Red), Wendy Tilby (Best Animated Short Film, The Flying Sailor), Mandy Walker (Best Cinematography, Elvis), Diane Warren (Best Original Song, Tell It Like a Woman), Gwendolyn Yates Whittle (Best Sound, Avatar: The Way of Water) and Mary Zophres (Best Costume Design, Babylon).

Prominent figures mingled throughout the special night with certain women standing out in the crowd. Ruth E. Carter, who took home an Oscar and became the only Black woman in history to win two Oscars, was applauded during the soiree. The famed costume designer is best known for her collaborations with Spike Lee, John Singleton, and Ryan Coogler. Her film career highlights revolve around blockbusters to beloved presentations, including Lee’s biographical film Malcolm X, the Marvel superhero films Black Panther and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and the historical drama film Amistad.

Catherine Martin was another woman who elevated the theme of the celebration. The Australian costume designer, production designer and set designer. has won two Academy Awards for Moulin Rouge! and The Great Gatsby. Her four Oscars total have made her the most awarded Australian in Oscar history. She is credited for her several works alongside husband, filmmaker Baz Luhrmann, including Romeo + Juliet and Australia, as well as her latest nomination for Elvis.

Sian Heder was another luminary of the night who created inspiration. The filmmaker is best known for writing and directing CODA, which earned her an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, while the film won for Best Picture. Heder began her career as an actress and screenwriter. Her script for Mother was awarded a fellowship for the prestigious American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women. Heder went on to win a Peabody Award, along with her fellow writers for the acclaimed television series, Men of a Certain Age. She also wrote for the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black before directing her well-known film Tallulah.

Additional attendees included Amy Baer (WIF Board President and CEO Landline Pictures), Garcelle Beauvais (Actress, Black Girl Missing, Split Marriage, RHOBH), Brooklyn Peltz Beckham, Nicola Peltz Beckham (Actress, Lola James, The Holidate), Lake Bell (Actress, Director, WIF Board Member), Madeline Brewer (Actress, The Handmaid’s Tale), Jordana Brewster (Actress, Fast X), Carrie Brownstein (Musician, Sleater-Kinney), Sophia Bush (Actress, Good Sam), Barbie Ferreira (Actress, Euphoria), Carlacia Grant (Actress, Outer Banks), Ashley Greene (Actress, The Retirement Plan, The Gemini Lounge), Patti Harrison (Actress, The Lost City), Christina Hendricks (Actress, Mad Men), Brendan Hunt (Actor, Ted Lasso), Dakota Johnson (Actress, Madame Web), Christine Ko (Actress, Dave, Only Murders in the Building, The Handmaid’s Tale), Anna Ryan Konkle (Actress, The Afterparty), Hayley Law (Actress, Door Mouse, Tales, Riverdale), Li Jun Li (Actress, Babylon), Sheila McCarthy (Actress, Women Talking), Euzhan Palcy (Film Director), Shivani Rawat (WIF Board Member, Founder & CEO of ShivHans Pictures), AnnaSophia Robb (Actress, Dr. Death), Inanna Sarkis (Actress, Séance), Kirsten Schaffer (WIF CEO) and Chloé Zhao (Filmmaker, Nomandland) and more. 

Presenting sponsors Johnnie Walker, as part of its longstanding commitment to gender equity, and Max Mara, a committed 20-year partner of WIF, also give significant investment into WIF programs to empower women as storytellers.

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