Last weekend Reese received her American Cinematheque Award at a ceremony in Los Angeles. Reese walked the red carpet with two of her kids – Ava & Deacon – and her husband Jim was in the audience with them. During the night, tributes were paid to her by friends and colleagues including Kate Hudson, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Garner, Alexander Payne, and Matthew McConaughey, who presented her with the award. Reese chose a simple yet chic block gown by Dolce & Gabbana for the event.
The first photos have been added to our Gallery now, with many more to come. Within this post are several really great articles about the night and Reese’s contribution to cinema – be sure to give them a read!!
And of course, congratulations to Reese on this exciting and well-deserved honour!
Reese Witherspoon Praised as ‘Modern Day Feminist’ at American Cinematheque Fete
The American Cinematheque honored Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon and DreamWorks Animation honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg at the organization’s annual fundraising gala Friday night at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.
Witherspoon received the American Cinematheque Award, reserved for an extraordinary artist currently making a significant contribution to the art of the Moving Picture. Specifically not a lifetime achievement prize, it is meant for mid-career recognition. Recent honorees have included Matthew McConaughey, Jerry Bruckheimer, Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon and Samuel L. Jackson.
“This whole experience is just overwhelming and unbelievable because I’m really just a girl from Nashville who had a dream,” Witherspoon said. “I grew up on backlots and on locations. I had my entire childhood on film. I went through puberty on film, which is something I don’t feel totally great about, but I don’t regret it at all. It’s preserved forever.”
She also spoke about her passion at this stage in her career for producing films that are equally representative of the sexes. “Women make up 50 percent of the population and we should be playing 50 percent of the roles on the screen,” she said. “We need more female surgeons, supreme court justices and soldiers — but on screen. Not just as the girlfriends to famous men.”
In addition to her award-winning work in front of the camera, she has taken bold strides spearheading projects like her own starring vehicle “Wild” and David Fincher’s “Gone Girl” last year, as well as the comedy “Hot Pursuit” with Sofia Vergara and the upcoming television series “Big Little Lies” with Nicole Kidman.
That sense of forthright feminism was a hallmark of comments made by friends and colleagues throughout the evening. McConaughey, who returned the favor after Witherspoon presented the same honor to him last year, noted her “powerful femininity” and recalled, “I remember thinking when I first met her, ‘This woman is nobody’s fool and if she wants something she makes a straight line to it.’”
Jennifer Aniston marveled at the naturalism of Witherspoon’s on-screen kisses; director Alexander Payne bristled at the notion that he put the actress on the map with 1999’s “Election” and recounted how Barack Obama called the film his favorite movie about politics; Kate Hudson — who called Witherspoon “a true, modern-day feminist” — remembered witnessing the actress work the premiere after-party of 1991’s “The Man in the Moon” at 15 years old “like a seasoned politician,” and consistently being up for the same parts later in their careers; and Jennifer Garner spoke about a shared passion for NGO Save the Children.
Other presenters included Vergara, Laura Dern, Diane Ladd, T Bone Burnett, producing partner Bruna Papandrea and director Jean-Marc Vallée. Chris Pine and Robert Downey Jr. sent pre-recorded well-wishes, while country music star Kenny Chesney performed a rendition of “Wild Child.”
Witherspoon is the first woman to win the American Cinematheque Award since Julia Roberts in 2007, and only the fifth to receive it in the gala’s 29-year history.
Earlier in the evening, Katzenberg — himself a co-chair of the benefit — received the inaugural Sid Grauman Award, for an individual who has made a significant contribution to the industry in the advancement of theatrical exhibition.
The honor is the latest in a recent string of career achievement prizes for Katzenberg, including the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films’ Visionary Award in 2009, CinemaCon’s Will Rogers Pioneer of the Year Award in 2012 and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 2013.
Katzenberg spoke about the significance of a prize bearing Grauman’s name because he has always been enamored by the founding fathers of the film industry, who “took a dusty town in a far corner of the country and, in a very few short years, transformed it into the place everyone wanted to be a part of.”
He also, naturally, espoused the virtues of seeing films theatrically.
“In the last decade I’ve listened to pontificators pontificate that the movie-going experience is going to imminently disappear,” he said. “In the ’50s, television was going to kill movies. In the ’70s, it was home video. In the ’90s, online entertainment. Today, mobile … [but] people have continued to flock to movie theaters. And every once in a while at the end, we do something really remarkable. We applaud. We don’t applaud at our televisions. We don’t applaud at our iPhones and iPads. But after a great movie, we applaud. That’s the power of the movie-going experience.”
Reese Witherspoon: American Cinematheque Honors Hollywood Power Woman
With the rising buzz about female superheroes, let’s praise the plain old Hollywood heroics of Reese Witherspoon, who’s being honored Oct. 30 by the American Cinematheque. The brainy blonde was ahead of the gender equality curve, founding her own movie company, Pacific Standard, and developing female-driven projects with partner Bruna Papandrea. Given the New Orleans native’s Type-A personality, it’s no surprise that her company’s first two films, “Wild” (in which she starred) and “Gone Girl,” earned three Oscar nominations — with Witherspoon nabbing one for actress.
With these two films, Witherspoon, an avid reader, solidified the bridge between chick lit and chick films that had already been established by YA super-hits “The Twilight Saga” and “The Hunger Games.” And, like the heroines in these post-feminist movies, Witherspoon wasn’t going to go all damsel-in-distress: if there weren’t enough challenging female roles, she would build them herself.
It’s an action that would please Tracy Flick, the overachiever stereotype of a future D.C. player in Alexander Payne’s 1999 classic, “Election.” In this literate, dark comedy about the rough road to student body president as political metaphor, Witherspoon planted the seeds for a thoroughbred career: intelligent, literate, beautiful — and not afraid to bust balls.
Another Witherspoon touchstone was the beloved “Legally Blonde” movies. Her Elle Woods is underestimated by almost everyone she encounters — the fools can’t see beyond her curtain of golden locks and girly wardrobe. But Woods owns her beauty and fashion obsession. Woods turns that combination into something powerful and takes it all the way to court. Dumb blonde? Hardly! RIP stereotype.
She could also “Walk the Line” in a different direction. Preppy mama Witherspoon and method monster Joaquin Phoenix make a moving duet as June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash. She nabbed an actress Oscar (he got an actor nom) as a Southern singer etching out a career in a chokingly male-dominated business while married to a musical genius who also happens to be substance abuser.
Witherspoon takes surprising leaps — and always sticks that landing. Take “Wild,” in which she played sex-and-drug addict Cheryl Strayed on her 1,100-mile trek to recovery. This was dark territory for Witherspoon, but that mood chimed with the malevolent mystery she produced that same year: “Gone Girl.” Gillian Flynn’s bestseller became a Ben Affleck-Rosamund Pike hit, grossing $368 million worldwide, and $168 million domestically. (But though Witherspoon has the sunny looks of an ad-ready Breck girl, early roles included edgy indies such as “Freeway,” and memorable turns in cult classics “Cruel Intentions” and “American Psycho.”)
In “Wild” and “Gone Girl,” the first two films produced by Pacific Standard, Witherspoon loosened up (a bit — she’ll always be Type A), revealing her struggle and her triumph by seizing the means of film production and making a path for her talent, and that of female authors like Flynn and Strayed.
The canny powerhouse is rising as a key player at 39, just when old Hollywood would have been calculating her sell-by date. Like Tracy Flick, she is taking no prisoners — and gathering well-deserved kudos.
– Thelma Adams
Reese Witherspoon Carries Torch For Women At American Cinematheque Tribute; Katzenberg Receives Sid Grauman Award
Tonight’s 2015 American Cinematheque tribute to Reese Witherspoon wasn’t just about her multi-faceted resume from Election to Wild. For those taking the podium at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza ballroom — many of whom heralded the actress as a sister, mother, boss, champion and crusader — Witherspoon’s near 25-year career has been about breaking ceilings both as an actress and producer. She stands as one of the few women lauded by the Cinematheque, her predecessors being Bette Midler (1987), Jodie Foster (1999), Nicole Kidman (2003) and Julia Roberts (2007).
“It’s important to talk about women in film and women playing leads. It’s a major objective of my company (Pacific Standard),” said the actress before the show, adding during her acceptance speech, “Women make up 50% of the population and we should be playing 50% of the roles on the screen. We need more female surgeons, Supreme Court justices, and soldiers — but on screen. Not just as the girlfriends to famous men.”
Witherspoon shared the spotlight tonight with DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg who was bestowed by the Cinematheque with the inaugural Sid Grauman Award, an honor which goes to an individual who has made an impact on both the motion picture industry and theatrical exhibition.
Call it coincidence, but there was actually an early connection between Katzenberg and Witherspoon, as the actress regaled tonight: As a teenager, Witherspoon turned down a part on a Disney movie, due to her Southern mother’s insistence that she couldn’t break from school. This prompted Katzenberg to call the Witherspoon homestead. “I don’t think he had any idea who I was. I was just this actress who said ‘No’ to his movie. So he started pitching me….I said to my mother, ‘It’s Jeffrey Katzenberg. He says the movie is gonna be a home run!’ But she responded, ‘I don’t care! You’re not doing it!’”
Speaking to Deadline before the show, Witherspoon spoke about the tribute saying, “I was stunned when they asked me because I haven’t had a lifetime of achievement, I’ve only had a half of a lifetime of achievement.” As she later added, “I went through puberty on film. I don’t feel great about it, but I don’t regret it. It’s preserved forever.”
Election director Alexander Payne during his presentation couldn’t say it better, “We’re talking about the early part of her career…She will at 90 still be at the early part of her career.”
Having come to Hollywood via Nashville, Tennessee, if there was one thing Witherspoon learned early on, it was to be prepared. Very prepared. After accepting her Cinematheque award from her fellow Mud actor Matthew McConaughey, the actress said, “I brought my speech in case my prompter goes out, I’m so nervous.” She shared with the crowd a humble time when she flew to a New York City audition as a teenager. During the plane ride, Witherspoon innocently told the man sitting next to her that she was reading for Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro. The guy didn’t do any favors for her, only making the young Witherspoon more anxious about the high stakes situation she was about to walk into. Witherspoon arrived to the audition a complete nervous wreck. The audition couldn’t have been worse with De Niro finishing all of Witherspoon’s lines.
Before the fireworks were shot off for Witherspoon, Steven Spielberg kicked off the night with a video message praising Katzenberg’s tenure, “He’s not just a producer. He’s truly a filmmaker. You look at the films he has his fingerprints on, from Disney’s 2D animation to the Dreamworks Animation company with the The Prince of Egypt as its first title; he started the digital animation revolution even up to when Shrek won the first Oscar in the first-ever animation category.”
During his speech, Katzenberg addressed how many have tried to predict the imminent demise of motion pictures.
“In the ’50s and ’60s it was TV, in the ’70s it was home video, in the ’90s it was the internet and today it’s mobile. These supposed threats don’t do much, but they do just the opposite….with more alternatives I want to emphasize that people always flock to theaters to see motion pictures,” said Katzenberg.
“We don’t applaud at our iPads or phones, we applaud after a good movie. That’s the power of the moviegoing experience. Today we live in an era where we can watch any movie. But in the movie theaters, it’s the movies that own us. This is why we support the American Cinematheque: They make sure movies are enjoyed in great theaters.”
Following Katzenberg, Jennifer Aniston took the mic as the first of several presenters to Witherspoon. The actress guest-starred on Friends, playing Jill Green, the sister to Aniston’s Rachel.
“Reese isn’t just an extraordinary actress, but she knows how to make a first impression. Her heroic origin story as a movie star started at 14. She auditioned for a bit part in a movie, but instead found herself cast in the lead role in The Man in the Moon…Her performance is absolutely extraordinary; already as a teenager, she’s luminous and wise beyond her years. Roger Ebert wrote about the performance, ‘Her kiss is one of the perfect little scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie.’” For Witherspoon, Man in the Moon, was more than just a lead role. It also marked the first time she ever kissed a boy, had her first crying scene, and her first nudity clause.
Kate Hudson was actually at the premiere of The Man in the Moon. She was 11 years old. In fact, Hudson rode in the car to the premiere with her mom’s (Goldie Hawn) best friend, Beverlee Dean who was Witherspoon’s manager at the time.
Recalled Hudson, “I was very intimidated at the premiere: I kind of met my match. I watched this film and was mesmerized. I recognized her depth, her piercing eyes, her sass, confidence and her vulnerability. That performance marked the beginning of a true star. I continued to be in awe when I watched a 15-year old Reese work the after-party like a seasoned politician.”
Hudson joked how she often lives in Witherspoon’s shadow. Not only was Hudson on the third leaflet of the Vanity Fair Young Hollywood cover to Witherspoon’s first page, but “I would often hear that Reese has the offer, but if she passes, it will come to you. That’s been my life!” The Almost Famous actress continued to roast, “Reese is very bossy. She’s trumps everyone. At Reese’s Christmas parties, we sing carols. I’ll suggest, ‘Let’s sing Frosty the Snowman and she’s like ‘No, we’ll sing 12 Days of Christmas and you’re gonna be a maid.”
Taking a serious note, Hudson emphasized, “We have a habit of putting labels on strong women. Reese is determined. She knows what she wants. She doesn’t take ‘No’ for an answer. She’s animated, gutsy, a spitfire. She can inspire a movement. I’ve heard her discuss the power of women in film… (she asks) Why is there a low percentage of female politicians? We share a passion for feminism. She’s self-made and sufficient. She’s a fighter for all women to achieve, including myself. She’s the kind of cheerleader you want. She sends you flowers to remind you that your success is everyone’s success.”
Before Hudson, Payne recalled that after watching clips from Election, former Paramount Studios chief Sherry Lansing enthusiastically responded to Witherspoon’s performance saying, “‘She’s the news! She’s the news’” while David Denby wrote in his New Yorker review that Witherspoon’s performance of Tracy Flick is “‘a combination of Richard and Pat Nixon.’” Payne said that he’s continually approached by people, including President Obama, exclaiming that Election is their favorite title out of his canon. “I reject when people tell me that I put her on the map. She was going to get there without me,” said Payne about his young budding star. The two are currently collaborating on the director’s social satire Downsizing.
T Bone Burnett, who was the executive music producer on Walk the Line, told the crowd about Witherspoon’s determination to get the June Carter signature song “Wildwood Flower” down pat. Burnett recalled Witherspoon paining over the song for three hours until she dashed out of the house in a mad frenzy, slamming doors and letting out a huge scream in the backyard. “She then spun around like Rita Hayworth in Gilda and it was then I thought she would win the Academy Award… She said something like ‘I’m just clearing my throat’,” quipped Burnett who then took Witherspoon back into the studio to record the song. “She channeled June Carter and gave the most authentic reading of that song. We did it in one take and that’s the one in the movie.”
McConaughey was also floored by Witherspoon’s Oscar-winning nuanced turn, and he sought her out at an Oscar after party. For the Oscar-winning actor, Witherspoon’s Carter balanced both feminism and an unconditional love “toward her man in the movie”; facets that “not many actresses would embody” said McConaughey.
Those also lauding Witherspoon tonight included Diane Ladd, Laura Dern, Jennifer Garner, Wild director Jean-Marc Vallee, Witherspoon’s producing partner Bruna Papandrea, Hot Pursuit co-star Sofia Vergara and country star Kenny Chesney.
Last year when McConaughey received his Cinematheque tribute, it occurred at a prime time when his sci-fi epic Interstellar was in the awards conversation. But the Cinematheque honor, though it falls during the onset of the awards season, is never given to a potential contender merely to further boost their prospects.
In the last year, Witherspoon saw one low, her Warner Bros./MGM summer comedy Hot Pursuit ($34.6M). However, that was just a hiccup next to the benchmarks she notched during the 2014-15 awards season. Not only was her production of Gone Girl a huge global success ($368.1M), but the film earned a best actress nod for Rosamund Pike, while Wild, which Witherspoon produced and headlined, earned her a best actress nom and a supporting actress nom as well for Laura Dern. As McConaughey aptly observed about Witherspoon’s track record for riveting roles, “When she wasn’t offered them, she didn’t sit around, she showed up and put her producer’s hat on and found them.”
For Witherspoon tonight, it’s not only about resilience, but it’s also about an industry that has allowed her to take chances and improve the types of roles out there for women.
Said the actress teary-eyed tonight, “I was mentored and guided by studio executives. I had some movies that worked and some that didn’t work. But they always call you on Saturday morning whether the film was good or bad, to tell you that they believe in you. Thank you for always believing in me.”
The Best Quotes From Jennifer Aniston, Sofia Vergara, and Jennifer Garner as They Toast (and Roast!) Reese Witherspoon
Friday night was certainly a star-studded one in Los Angeles, with Jennifer Aniston, Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Garner, Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, and more A-listers coming out to support Reese Witherspoon as she received the American Cinematheque award. The honor is given to an artist making a significant contribution to the art of the film, but what’s notable about this year’s honor is that Witherspoon is only the fifth female to receive the honor in the fund-raising gala’s 29-year history.
It’s just another reason why we at Glamour are thrilled to have Witherspoon grace our 25th annual Women of the Year issue, especially since she launched her production company, Pacific Standard, to further create groundbreaking roles for women. At the gala, held at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, Los Angeles and sponsored by Fiji Water, Witherspoon urged her fellow filmmakers in attendance to not only create more roles for women but “to see more female surgeons, astronauts, soldiers, supreme court justices on-screen” as well.
Jennifer Aniston (who greeted Witherspoon with the longest hug ever before the award ceremony got under way) told the crowd of Hollywood executives, filmmakers, and actors that “even before Reese played my lovely, albeit somewhat spoiled sister, Jill, [on Friends] she somehow felt like family to me. Her amazing talent, both professionally and personally, has made her a strong and welcome presence in my life.”
Kate Hudson reminisced about the first time she met Witherspoon, which was actually in 1991 at The Man in the Moon premiere (Reese’s first film). “I was 11, and I can say I met my match [with Reese]. I can’t tell you how many times I’d call my agent about an audition and the agent would say, ‘Well, it’s between you and Reese.’ And then I always heard, ‘Well, Reese has the offer, but if she passes, it may come to you.’ So that’s been my life,” the actress joked.
Of course, Hudson also used her time on stage to get serious about her love for her long-time friend. “We share another passion, and that’s feminism. She’s self-made, self-sufficient, a beautiful mother of three, wife, artist, producer, entrepreneur. She’s a fighter for all young women to achieve similar goals, including myself. She’s the kind of cheerleader you want as a friend. She’s the kind of person that sends you flowers to remind you that your own success is everybody’s success.”
Jennifer Garner praised Witherspoon’s role as a mom, saying that she’s seen the star “be a lioness” on her kids’ behalf. “You are as in tune with [Ava, Deacon, and Tennessee] as the best of them, and I admire that greatly. I’ve always loved you as an actress, I’ve always loved you as a girl, and maybe some day, who knows, the right thing will come up, and I would happily play your sister from another mister!”
But it was perhaps Sofia Vergara, Witherspoon’s costar and producing partner on Hot Pursuit, who got the biggest laughs of the night. Vergara used the opportunity to talk about the promotional tour she went on with Witherspoon in Spanish-speaking media markets. “She spoke in Spanish on live TV with a very weird accent, but at least she was trying. [Still], it was embarrassing to me,” joked Vergara. “This multitalented, beautiful woman, with her little boy police uniform, became the only girl that I have ever made out with [in the movie]. I French-kissed Reesey Witherspoon. She has the best skin and the biggest butt of any white woman in Hollywood, and the most generous heart. You know it’s true, you said it to me. Reesey, I’m glad to be here as a fan and a friend. You deserve the world, all the happiness, all the blessings, all the Spanish lessons that you can take, and all the awards and praise for your success and leadership in this industry.”
Reese Witherspoon Gets Emotional: Tears Up Talking About Her Husband and Three Kids
Reese Witherspoon’s Hollywood career was celebrated last night by a star-studded lineup of presenters when she was honored with this year’s American Cinematheque Award.
But the truly emotional moment of the night occurred when the Oscar winner talked about her husband Jim Toth and three kids Ava, Deacon and Tennessee.
Witherspoon called Toth “my biggest fan and my greatest champion and without whom I would never have scaled a mountain or started a new company or parented three amazing kids.”
It was then that Witherspoon eyes began to fill up with tears.
“Speaking of my amazing children—Ava and Deacon are here. Hopefully Tennessee is asleep. He never sleeps—I just want to thank you for all the times you had to say goodbye to your mom while she packed to go on a location or for missing your school trips or special days because you were on some location in some far flung area in Georgia or Louisiana or London or wherever and for understanding that I love my job, that it feeds my soul to be creative and how I hope one day it may feed your soul too and that you’ll teach your children to be hardworking and creative and for knowing in your heart that no matter where I am in the world you are always with me,” she said. “I love you more than you will ever know.”
Wiping away her tears, the Walk the Line star said, ” You can’t be in this business if you don’t have a wonderful supportive family and I have the most amazing family.”
As is always the case with such tributes, there were also plenty of jokes being tossed around.
Sofía Vergara revealed that she calls her pint-sized Hot Pursuit co-star, “My Little Pony,” and also recalled promoting their comedy with Hispanic media outlets.
“She was so gracious that she even spoke in Spanish on live TV with a very weird accent but at least she was trying,” Vergara cracked. “It was embarrassing to me.”
The Modern Family star continued, “She has the best skin and the biggest butt of any white woman in Hollywood. You know, it’s true—you have said it to me, too!”
Kate Hudson was 11 when she first met Witherspoon. They’ve been friends ever since, but also competitors.
“I can’t even tell you the number of times I’d call my agent and I ‘d say, ‘What happened with that audition?’ and he’d be like, ‘Well, it’s between you and Reese,'” she said with mock frustration. “And the other thing that I always heard was, ‘Well, Reese has the offer, but if she passes it may come to you.’ So that’s been my life.”
Other presenters included Matthew McConaughey, Laura Dern, Diane Ladd, music producer T Bone Burnett, Witherspoon’s producing partner Bruna Papandrea and Wild director Jean-Marc Vallee.
Sponsored by Fiji Water, the tribute also included pre-taped messages from Chris Pine and Robert Downey Jr., who jokingly complained that he was having trouble ordering a table runner from Witherspoon’s lifestyle website Draper James.
“I have been lucky enough to wear several Draper James dresses,” Jennifer Garner gushed, before adding with a laugh, “Not tonight–this is Valentino. But I’m happy to report that [Draper James dresses] are beautifully made in America. I hope so because I didn’t check. I just came up with that on the spot.”
Kenny Chesney performed his hit “Wild Child” in honor of Witherspoon and DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg received the organization’s inaugural Sid Grauman Award.
– E! Online