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Mary J. Blige asked Ava DuVernay to be her friend at Elle magazine’s 22nd Women in Hollywood celebration Monday night at the Four Seasons Hotel. The annual event honors women for their achievements in the entertainment industry.


The evening was full of loving celebrity-on-celebrity tributes: Lena Dunham compared Amy Schumer to Oprah, and Meryl Streep told Carey Mulligan her voice sounds “like warm caramel poured over the English language.”

Editor-in-chief Robbie Myers said Hollywood’s vast gender disparities — 95 percent of studio movies are made by men — prove such nights are still needed. “Did you know the lowest paid male actor on the Forbes list was still ranked above the highest paid female actor on the same list?” she said.

Blige introduced DuVernay, who underscored Hollywood’s gender gap with an anecdote about a fellow director. They both had features at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and were taking on their first big-budget projects.


“I got a big movie,” she remembered telling him, talking about the $20 million budget for “Selma.”

He said he had gotten a big movie, too. It was “Jurassic World.”

“Now… he’ll go off and do ‘Star Wars,’ and I’m happy for him,” DuVernay said of her friend Colin Trevorrow. “But think about the women who were also in that class at Sundance 2012.”

Dunham introduced Schumer. In describing how the comedian inspired women, Dunham said: “She’s like Oprah, if Oprah squashed her boobs together more.”

Hayek, who was introduced by Zoe Saldana, said this generation of women can change Hollywood. The butterfly painting, she said, represents transformation.

Kate Winslet, Dakota Johnson, Alicia Vikander and Gena Rowlands were also recognized Monday, though Rowlands did not attend. The honorees are featured in the magazine’s November issue.

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(Photo Source: Mary J. Blige Instagram, AP)