BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Women in Film is going behind the scenes to recognize 10 behind-the-camera talents with its annual Crystal + Lucy Awards.
Eight female producers, an agent and a director accepted prizes alongside actresses Taraji P. Henson and Natalie Dormer at a dinner ceremony Wednesday night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. All called for gender parity in Hollywood and sisterhood among women working in the industry.
"We're all we got, ladies," a spirited Henson said as she claimed the award for excellence in television. "We're fighting for what we deserve."
Women in Film helped fund studies that inspired the American Civil Liberties Union to demand federal inquiry last year into whether discrimination is to blame for the dearth of female directors in Hollywood. Research shows women have represented around four percent of directors of top films for the past 15 years. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is now investigating.
Agent Hylda Queally, "Homeland" director Lesli Linka Glatter and the producers behind such films as "Interstellar," ''Juno," and the "X-Men" franchise discussed the challenges they faced as women and mothers in male-dominated Hollywood.
Queally, who accepted her award from longtime client Cate Blanchett, said she used to lie and say she was having car trouble rather than admit she needed time to attend her child's school performance.
Producer Lucy Fisher said that when she realized "The Fugitive" premiere was scheduled for the same night as her daughter's kindergarten sleepover, Fisher called star Harrison Ford and asked him to say he was unavailable so the premiere would have to be rescheduled.
Glatter, whose directing credits also include "Mad Men," ''The West Wing," and "The Walking Dead, said she never expected that after 25 years in the business that there would still be so few women behind the camera.
"It's not easy for anyone to be a director," Glatter said after accepting the directors award from Claire Danes. "But it shouldn't be harder for our daughters than it is for our sons."
People in hiring positions have to be willing to "open the door" for women, she said.
Producer Lauren Shuler Donner said she had worked with nearly all of her fellow honorees, having mentored some and been mentored by others. Besides Fisher and Donner, the other producers recognized were Denise Di Novi, Liane Halfon, Lynda Obst, Jane Rosenthal, Paula Wagner and Paula Weinstein.
The Crystal + Lucy Awards is a fundraiser to support Women in Film's programs, including a new three-year campaign to support additional gender studies and provide unconscious-bias training to Hollywood workers.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at www.twitter.com/APSandy .