POWER HUNGRY: That was just the sort of crowd that turned out for Variety’s seventh Power of Women luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire hotel on Friday. The event, timed to the weekly’s annual Women’s Impact Report (the cover girl this week is Reese Witherspoon) and presented in partnership with Lifetime Television, is one of the more elite industry powwows, this one focused on philanthropic women named “Lifetime Impact Honorees.” This year’s pack included Viola Davis (supporting the Hunger Is charity), Jane Fonda (Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential), Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley (Vital Voices), Jennifer Lopez (The Lopez Family Foundation), and Witherspoon (Malala Fund).
“If women all got together, we really could heal the world,” said Eva Longoria, who started off the two-hour event. She was followed by Fonda, who said she felt an obligation to serve coming from a Hollywood family. “I mean, what was I supposed to do? Become a lounge lizard?” she said. “Service is the rent you pay for life.” There were no quick ins and outs for the honorees — they all sat through the event and appeared to really be listening to one another. By the time Maria Bello took to the stage to introduce her friend Davis, many were engaged enough to fist pump and cheer. And after hearing Davis talk about her own poverty and hunger as a child, the room got even more serious. Ryan Seacrest was able to lighten it up a bit, introducing final honoree Lopez, calling her “my guidance counselor and a judge on a singing show I happen to like,” but the diva brought things to an even keel, talking about her family’s foundation and equating power with the ability to make things better for the less fortunate.