Reese Witherspoon to Receive Sherry Lansing Award at Hollywood Reporter Women in Entertainment Event
Reese Witherspoon will receive the prestigious Sherry Lansing Leadership Award at The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Women in Entertainment gala, set to take place Dec. 11 in Los Angeles.
The Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy winner will be joined by best-selling author, entrepreneur and political activist Stacey Abrams, who will deliver the keynote speech at the breakfast, which is attended by 600 of the leading women in the entertainment industry.
Also speaking will be Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning actress and producer Charlize Theron, who’ll help present $1 million in university scholarships to high-school seniors from underserved communities across Los Angeles, all of whom have taken part in THR’s acclaimed Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program.
The gala coincides with the release of THR’s much-anticipated annual Women in Entertainment issue of the magazine (on newsstands Dec. 11), which highlights the Power 100, the leading female executives in entertainment. This year, the issue is guest-edited by actress, director, producer and activist Olivia Wilde, who will also attend the star-studded event.
Witherspoon is the latest recipient of the Lansing Award, which recognizes trailblazers and philanthropists and was established in honor of the former CEO of Paramount Pictures (the first woman to head a Hollywood studio). Previous recipients include Viola Davis, Jennifer Lawrence, Tina Fey, Barbra Streisand, Shonda Rhimes, Oprah Winfrey, Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, Halle Berry, Jodie Foster, Glenn Close and Barbara Walters.
“Reese has transformed herself from acclaimed actress to one of Hollywood’s most prolific producers. She is a perfect fit to carry on the legacy of trailblazing women by receiving the Sherry Lansing Award,” THR editorial director Matthew Belloni said. “I’m delighted that this year we’ll also have Stacey Abrams — one of the most impressive and transformative figures in the country — to deliver our keynote speech. They are fitting company to the multitalented Olivia Wilde, who’s proved how gifted she is not just as the director of this year’s Booksmart, but also as guest editor of our upcoming magazine.”
Added Lansing: “I couldn’t be more thrilled that The Hollywood Reporter has chosen Reese Witherspoon for this year’s leadership award. We all know what an astonishing actress she is. But, equally important, she’s been a pioneer and role model for so many others — both women and men — in producing some of the best film and television in recent years, and in her extraordinary philanthropic endeavors, particularly in support of Time’s Up and Stand Up to Cancer.”
Women in Entertainment is presented by Lifetime and sponsored by Loyola Marymount University in partnership with the Entertainment Industry Foundation. The breakfast will also be attended by 40 young women currently taking part in the WIE Mentorship Program, about to celebrate its 10th year. Each year, the program pairs 20 high-school juniors with some of the top women in film and TV. Mentors have included Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke, Imax Entertainment president Megan Colligan, Netflix vp content Bela Bajaria and Disney TV Studios-ABC Entertainment chairman Dana Walden. More than 200 girls and 200 mentors have taken part in the program, with the mentees going on to universities including Harvard, UC Berkeley and UCLA, supported by $7.8 million that THR has raised in scholarships.
Women in Entertainment is part of a dedicated week of programming produced by Billboard-The Hollywood Reporter Media Group focused on honoring top female artists and executives in entertainment and music. The week includes: Billboard’s annual Women in Music dinner and awards ceremony, held in conjunction with the release of Billboard’s Women in Music issue; a new She Is the Music songwriting boot camp; a reception celebrating the 10th anniversary of THR’s acclaimed Mentorship Program; and other events.
Witherspoon is the founder of Hello Sunshine, a media brand and content company dedicated to female authorship and storytelling across all platforms. The Big Little Lies star and executive producer’s upcoming projects include Apple’s The Morning Show, Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere and Amazon’s Daisy Jones & the Six.
Abrams was the first African American woman to become a gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the U.S. and in her 2018 race won more votes than any Democrat in any statewide election, and in 2018 became the state’s Democratic nominee for governor. Earlier, she served 11 years in the Georgia House of Representatives and seven as minority leader.
Through her production company Denver and Delilah, Theron has made such features as The Burning Plain, Dark Places and Long Shot, along with the upcoming Bombshell. Theron has recently wrapped filming on both Fast & Furious 9 and The Old Guard, based on the comic book series by Greg Rucka and illustrator Leandro Fernández, which her production company is also producing.
Wilde made her directorial debut with this year’s critically acclaimed Booksmart. She plays an Atlanta reporter in Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell and will next direct, star in and produce the psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling. Wilde also co-founded the philanthropic platform Conscious Commerce.