Kering’s Women In Motion 2022 dinner honors Viola Davis at Cannes

Kering's Women In Motion 2022 dinner honors Viola Davis at Cannes

A triumphant Viola Davis invited guests to Kering’s annual Women in Motion dinner in Cannes to wake up on Sunday with a rousing speech acknowledging her roots and personal journey in Hollywood.

“As much as I love Alexander McQueen – and I love Alexander McQueen – and fabulous makeup,” Davis said, “I always, always get so emotional when people tell me that my job or my life meant something to them. But just knowing who I am at the end of the day is: I don’t want to leave anything for people – I want to leave something in people.”

Davis was speaking onstage at Kering’s annual dinner at the Cannes Film Festival, where she was the evening’s winner. Surrounded by a star-studded display of the biggest names in the French festival, such as Cannes director Thierry Frémaux and Kering chairman and CEO François-Henri Pinault, Davis received an enthusiastic standing ovation after delivering a powerful speech on the creation of change through his work.

“The power of art is that it knows no color,” Davis said.

Kering – the French luxury goods company, which owns McQueen, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent – ​​has been hosting its intimate Women In Motion dinner at the Cannes Film Festival since 2015, when the program was launched for shine a light on women’s contributions to the cinematic arts, in front of and behind the camera. The program sponsors meetings with filmmakers, producers and actresses during the festival, organized in partnership with Variety. (Earlier in Cannes, Davis sat down for a hard-hitting talk about her work to foster greater inclusion in Hollywood.)

“Gender equality is at the heart of Kering,” Pinault said during the Sunday night affair.

Davis received the Women in Motion Award, which honors iconic and inspiring figures from the world of film. Previous winners include Jane Fonda, Geena Davis, Susan Sarandon, Isabelle Huppert, Patty Jenkins, Gong Li and Salma Hayek, married to Pinault.

“I want my ceiling to be somebody else’s floor,” Davis said during her remarks at the lavish dinner, where she spoke about being a “chocolate girl” who suffered trauma as a child. . “I always wanted my life to matter. I always wanted to leave this earth and leave a big hole in my neck,” the Oscar-winning actor said. “But, now that I’ve progressed in my career, what I’ve realized is that I want to elevate storytelling for people of color.”

Davis said watching Cicely Tyson on screen when she was growing up had a huge impact. But, she said, “It’s just as impactful when I don’t see us.” Davis then spoke about the lack of roles for women of color and the tired tropes in which actors of color are cast as “bus drivers, or women who live in difficult communities and have one of two scenes of a movie, or being a best friend to our white female counterparts.

Davis was joined by her husband and producing partner Julius Tennon at the event. The duo spoke to Variety on the red carpet, before dinner. “She’s just real,” Tennon said of his wife. “She always says what she thinks; she is very focused on what she does and loves.

When she first took the stage, Davis joked, “I’d say your last names, but my French isn’t very good,” thanking Pinault and Frémaux, who honored her in their dated remarks. ‘opening.

Pinault also honored Ukrainian women when he addressed the star-studded room. “They fight for their family, fight for their friends,” he said. “We don’t forget them.”

As part of the presentation, Pinault also presented the society’s Young Talent Award to “Pleasure” director Ninja Thyberg, whose 2013 short film “Pleasure” was presented as part of the Semaine de la Critique section at Canes.

The short then expanded into his feature debut, of the same title, which was chosen for Cannes’ Official Selection in 2020. The provocative film about the porn industry screened in 2021 at Sundance, and was picked up by the distributor “Parasite” Neon in October.

Speaking to star-studded audiences, Thyberg said she had been telling everyone for seven years that she would be making a film that would premiere at Cannes, and how bittersweet it was when she been accepted in 2020, only for the festival to be canceled due to COVID.

“I’m here because so many women before me have fought for our voices in film,” Thyberg said. “Many of these women who fought so hard never had this opportunity. I am so honored and happy to be able to pass this on.

The event took place on Place de la Castre in Cannes, a historic castle on top of a hill overlooking Cannes. With views of the French Riviera and twinkling lights as the sun set on the red carpet, around 250 guests were seated at the exclusive soiree where chilled champagne flowed and waiters passed down elegant bites of decadent food. adorned with flowers.

Other participants included actors Isabelle Huppert, Rossy de Palma, Letitia Wright, Riz Ahmed, Edgar Ramirez and Paul Mescal; director Paolo Sorrentino; Chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures, Toby Emmerich; and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, musician Carla Bruni.

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