Inside the Gracies Awards’ 40th Anniversary Gala

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Maggie Gyllenhaal
Maggie Gyllenhaal

Photo Credit: Leroy Hamilton on behalf of The Alliance of Women in Media 

Influential females in Hollywood were the honorees at the The Alliance for Women in Media‘s 40th Anniversary of The Gracies Awards on Tuesday.

Tracee Ellis Ross hosted the gala, which also celebrated the organization’s 40 years of achievements, at The Beverly Hilton.  In honor of that milestone, The Gracies Commemorative Awards were handed out on stage to honorees in recognition of their stellar accomplishments over the years.

Ewan MacGregor and Maggie Gyllenhaal
Ewan MacGregor and Maggie Gyllenhaal

Photo Credit: Leroy Hamilton on behalf of The Alliance of Women in Media

Honorees that attended the ceremony included” Alicia Menendez, Amy Lee Lavoie, Angela Robinson, Ann Druyan, Carol Stiff, Cicely Tyson, Danielle Friedman, Danny Canon, Diana Olick, Elizabeth Cohen, Erica Hill, Erik Logan, Hoda Kotb, Isha Sesay, Iyanla Vanzant, Julie Ann Robinson, Karen Malach, Kelly McEvers,Kristen Johnston, Laila Ali, Laura Murphy, Lisa Cohen, Lisa Lax, Mae Whitman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Margo Martindale, Mary Stevens, Megan Kelty, Mindy Thomas, Moll Anderson, Noopur Agarwal, Patricia DiCarlo, Regina Scully, Renee Montagne, Robin Sindler, Sadie Calvano, Sara Vilkomerson, Tovia Smith and Tracey Edmonds.

Presenters and additional guests in attendance included Abbie Boudreau, Andrea Bruce, Alison Overholt, Alison Sweeney, Brad Krevoy, Catherine Bell, Cecilia Vega, Darren Melameth, Ewan McGregor, G. Hannelius, Jamie Tarabay, Jenifer Fenton, Josie Thomas, Karli Henriquez, Lauren Graham, Lori Loughlin, Maria Elena Salinas, Maria Menounos, Mark Fainaru-Wada, Melissa Maerz, Megan McCloskey, Nicole Beemsterboer, Paul LaRosa, Peter Sarsgaard and Sara Vilkomerson.

Cicely Tyson
Cicely Tyson

Photo Credit: Leroy Hamilton on behalf of The Alliance of Women in Media

Guests were greeted by the musical talents of DJ Amy Pham, while music icon Linda Perry performed a stripped down version of “What’s Up,” and a moving rendition of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” just after the awards were handed out.

During the show, Kristen Johnston reminded the crowd why Gracie Allen was truly a legend—by being herself. “If she were alive today [Gracie Allen], I think she’d be extremely proud of the women in this room; to know that we, too, stand in our own truths, do the work we love and, hopefully,  will leave the industry,  and the world,  a little better off than when we found it,” she said.

On a more serious note, Cicely Tyson made an impassioned acceptance speech about the gender disparity that continues in the entertainment industry today: “Women have and continue to struggle to climb from the bottom of the ladder, but it is with the utmost determination that we reach for that next rung no matter how difficult the challenge.”

Hoda Kotb
Hoda Kotb

Photo Credit: Leroy Hamilton on behalf of The Alliance of Women in Media

Hoda Kotb joked during her speech that she “forgot her clutch, and had to use a Ziplock bag as a purse.” She followed by explaining her philanthropic efforts and played a duet performed by Sara Bareilles and Cyndi Lauper,that she facilitated, to serve as an anthem for children with cancer.

Ewan McGregor presented Maggie Gyllenhaal with her award. After the Broadway co-stars of “The Real Thing” had a moment on stage, Gyllenhaal then gave a motivational acceptance speech about the importance of self-appreciation. “It’s really hard even being yourself, even a sprout,” she said, “but that’s what makes you beautiful.”

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