Kate Hudson’s friendship with Reese originated in the back of a shared car service ride to a screening in 1991. Witherspoon’s fellow Tennessean Kenny Chesney performed “Wild Child” to kick off the night. (Getty Images)
The richest tribute came from someone who has never shot a single frame with Reese: Kate Hudson.
While their relationship was something of a head-scratcher going in to the night — outside of superficial similarities as young, blonde, Hollywood moms — Hudson said their 24-year friendship crystallized in the moment that Witherspoon called her out for being fawningly agreeable to everything Reese said. It happened exactly a year ago,
“Are you [just] repeating everything I’m saying?” she recalled Witherspoon asking her during the after-party for the 2014 Cinematheque gala downstairs at the Beverly Hilton.
Hudson was pre-loaded with a retort: “Yes. I’ve been repeating and doing everything you do since I was 11.”
Matthew McConaughey acknowledged that it’s not a tradition that the most recent American Cinematheque honoree present to the next one, but that he wanted to do it because “she’s been a loyal friend to me and relentlessly supported my foundation’s efforts,” he said. That support was on display almost exactly one year ago, in the photo below. (Getty Images)
Just last year, Reese snapped the scene on her iPhone on “Mud” co-star Matthew McConaughey’s big night as the American Cinemantheque honoree. (2014 file photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Hudson went on to detail how at 11, she first met a slightly older Witherspoon while sharing a car service ride to a screening of Witherspoon’s feature debut, “The Man in the Moon,” in 1991.
“I was in awe when I watched 15-year-old Reese work the after party like a seasoned politician,” Hudson said.
Hudson would go on to recall being stashed two cover-folds behind Witherspoon the year they both made Vanity Fair’s Young Hollywood Issue. Even after Hudson came in to her own, she confessed to consistently hearing from her reps that “Reese has the offer… but if she passes, it may come to you.”
Hudson gained a small notch of good-natured revenge by revealing to the sprawling ballroom — including T-Bone Burnett, Ted Sarandos, Donna Langley, Jim Gianopulos, and Kevin Huvane — that Witherspoon is “more bossy than Stella McCartney” and has a distinctive habit of assigning parts in Christmas carols.
The “Wild” team: Pacific Standard producing partners Bruna Papandrea and Witherspoon, co-star Laura Dern, and director Jean-Marc Vallee. (Charley Gallay/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
Jennifer Garner, whose snug Westside friendship with Witherspoon is also entirely extracurricular, let the crowd know that she’s “not here to talk about Reese Witherspoon the movie star” but instead “to talk about my ‘buck stops here’ buddy.”
“We share a deep pride in our Southern heritage,” Garner said. “Reese’s son Tennessee and my son West Virgina Affleck are sweet, sweet buddies.”
“Hot Pursuit” co-star and fellow producer Sofia Vergara went further. Revealing her pet nickname for Witherspoon is “My Little Pony,” Vergara told the world what she has apparently been saying to her face for years: “Reese has the best skin and biggest butt of any white woman in Hollywood.”
Witherspoon celebrated the night with a rare public appearance together with two of her three children, Ava and Deacon, filling out the center table next to her husband (and agent) Jim Toth and her mom Betty (in bedazzled black UGG boots). The flashbulbs for a sanctioned photo of Witherspoon with her kids could have knocked the Century City power grid offline.
Witherspoon accepts. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
“I want to thank you for all the times that you had to say goodbye to mom while she packed to go out on location,” Witherspoon said, addressing her kids publicly from the stage. “Thanks for understanding that I love my job, that it feeds my soul to be creative. I hope some day it may feed your soul too and you’ll teach your kids to be hard working and creative.”
Witherspoon highlighted family bonds in her 14-minute acceptance speech, recalling how she had to cover the phone receiver in her kitchen as a high school sophomore to negotiate with her mother as Jeffrey Katzenbgerg waited on the other end of the line. He had been telling her, “You have to do this [unnamed Disney animated] movie.”
Her mother won out, prioritizing school over shoots, and she had to pass. Witherspoon offered some free advice to the crowd on how to say no to Jeffrey Katzenberg: Have your mom say no for you.
The former Disney rainmaker and current DreamWorks Animation CEO took home the inaugural Sid Grauman award to lead off the night.
Rick Nicita presented the new Grauman honor to Katzenberg, a trophy named for the entrepreneur who in addition to building the namesake Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. (now called the TCL Chinese) was also a founding member of the Academy and built another moviegoing palace, the Egyptian, now the home of the American Cinematheque.
“For nearly 70 of the 100 years of the film industry, it has contended with cheaper and more convenient alternatives,” Katzenberg argued, defending the popularity and distinction of the big-screen experience. “Despite this, always, and I want to emphasize always, people have continued to flock to movie theaters to see motion pictures,” Katzenberg said.
“We don’t applaud at our televisions. We don’t applaud at our iPhones. We don’t applaud at our iPads, but after a great movie, we applaud,” Katzenberg said. “That’s the power of the moviegoing experience.”
Jeffrey Katzenberg and Rick Nicita. (Getty Images)
It would have been impossible for Katzenberg to applaud for anything on Friday night.
As he had a week ago at another awards tribute, Katzenberg soldiered on with his right arm in a cast from a recent car accident and surgery. He flipped his speech pages left handed, seemed a bit humorless even by Katzenberg standards Friday night, and eschewed any interviews and barely accepted “get well” wishes.
In addition to presenting to Katzenberg, Cinematheque chairman Rick Nicita gave much more than lip service to the evening, though he did emcee the opening.
During video packages, he was back at the sound booth in the back of house and standing by the entrance an hour before the event began with Kevin Huvane. It was a CAA-heavy event, the move to the Hyatt Century Plaza (the first time there since Mel Gibson‘s 1995 Cinematheque Award), made it an easy walk across Avenue of the Stars.
Family Affairs: Laura Dern, Witherspoon, spitting image daughter Ava Phillippe, Diane Ladd (Dern’s mother), and Witherspoon’s mother, Betty. At right, Producer Paula Wagner and Nicita. (Getty Images)
Other notables in attendance included Diane Ladd, Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard producing partner Bruna Papandrea, producer Paula Wagner, director Jean-Marc Vallee and Greta Van Susteren, who told TheWrap that her surprise over the CNBC GOP debate debacle was the absence of business-focused questions coming from the business-only network.
Product placement company Hill Valley and Fiji Water sponsored the gala, netting a front row table.
The night funds the Cinematheque’s year-round programming and operation of the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and the Aero in Santa Monica.
Party Report in Pictures: Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, Selena Gomez Hit the Town (Updating Photos)
Perry Farrell and wife Etty invited a few pals to dine at Bagatelle on Friday night for their "rulebreaker" dinner, where it was sipping, not shooting, Maestro Dobel Tequila. "There's a lot of things I do different (from EDC founder Pasquale Rotella and Coachella's Paul Tollett)," Farrell told me of his exploding Lollapalooza brand. "I'm turning the entire event in to an interactive playing field."
Lady Gaga performed 8 songs (and a costume change) at the amfAR Inspiration Gala at Milk Studios on Thursday night. Steve Tisch was not the opening act.
Zendaya was all over the room, testing her arm muscles against designer Dean Caten, one half of DSquared who threw the official after party at 1 OAK, where owners Ronnie Madra and Darren Dzienciol worked the room.
Two chefs chow down at the Weinsteins' NYC premiere of "Burnt": Bobby Flay and Katie Lee Joel.
PDA is A-OK for J. and J. (Timberlake and Biel) at the GLSEN Respect Awards at the Regent Beverly Wilshire.
Pacific Standard producing partners Bruna Papandrea and Reese Witherspoon are having a good week. On Sunday October 25, Bruna got nods from Australians in Film at their annual gala at the Intercontinental. Five days later, Reese was slated as the honoree for the American Cinematheque Award.
Australians in Film
Caitlyn Jenner spent the night before her birthday supporting pal/transgender model Geena Rocero's trans-themed digital series for Logo, "Beautiful as I Want to Be". Jenner is in the premiere episode.
Earlier in the week, the Paley Center had a tribute to African American Achievements in Television, including Dick Wolf's long track record. The class photo includes: Eamonn Walker, Coco Austin, NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt, Ice-T, Laroyce Hawkins, Yaya DaCosta, mega-producer Wolf and S. Epatha Merkerson.
Matthew Simmons/Getty Images
The Q (Quincy Jones) with Paley Center President Maureen Reidy at the Tribute to African-American Achievements in TV.
The uber-smooth Nick Cannon hosted the event, which champions causes important to "modern men". These included the Water Defense, the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, Eye to Eye, and the foundation of one very popular NY football Giant...
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for GQ
...Victor Cruz. GQ Publisher Howard Mittman successfully propelled the event for its 9th year.
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for GQ
Michael Pena and Oscar De La Hoya put up their dukes for Mario Lopez's Casa Mexico Tequila launch party at pal Eva Longoria's Beso.
It was the second night in a row for Lopez and Longoria at Eva's enduring Hollywood Boulevard restaurant and lounge. The night before the Casa Mexico bash, Longoria hosted her Foundation's annual dinner there. David Tutera and crew shot the event for his We TV show "CELEBrations."
Over at Terrine on Beverly, former "Oprah" and current female football series producer Ellen Rakieten (top left) booth'ed up next to pal Katharina Harfs (in red) for Harfs' "Delete Blood Cancer DKMS" dinner. The crowd included Jimmy Choo entertainment marketing director Sara Riff (bottom, 2nd from left) and CAA agent Christian Carino (far right)
Coming soon to a TV near you: Christina Milian (right) slapping co-star John Stamos on "Grandfathered." Milian let the plot point slip at a celebration for Gran Centenario Tequila at the Sunset Tower this week, before hanging with Tara Ink's Tayo Otiti inside.
Meanwhile in NYC, the new "Daily Show" waited until taping the final show before their first week-long hiatus to throw a premiere party. About a month after debuting, writer Tavon Free grasps host Trevor Noah during a party at the Ink 48 hotel in midtown.
Whoopi Goldberg and her daughter have a project together, docuseries "According to Alex." Whoopi, daughter Alex Martin Dean, and Leisa Rachal talked it up at the Paley Center in NYC on Tuesday night.
Paley Center for Media
WWE "Tough Enough" host Chris Jericho flexed his ring muscles roughing up a cage containing one of Tori Spelling's kids at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Family event on October 25.
Joel McHale took "The Soup" to Talladega, a major speedway in Alabama. The guy on the right is the one Hollywood needs to know: Joey Logano. The telegenic 25-year old is on a win streak and leading Nascar's playoffs, called "The Chase."
Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images
Clint Bowyer, Danica Patrick, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. joined McHale.
Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images
Bubbling performers Lionbabe (Jillian Hervey in the foreground and Lucas Goodman making music in the rear) lit up the Mondrian for an intimate set on Tuesday, October 27. They are currently opening for Disclosure.
One state over, Hollywood has invaded Georgia for the Savannah Film Festival. Hosted by SCAD, the events have included premieres, panels, and Alexander Skarsgard.
The late Jackie Collins' daughters Tiffany Sachs (left) and Rory Green (right) accepted an award from Big Brothers Big Sisters Los Angeles at the group's 60th anniversary celebration at the Beverly Hilton. Kathy Griffin posed with them backstage.
The UK and US TV Industries huddled together at the London Hotel in West Hollywood. BAFTA LA CEO Chantal Rickards put the summit together, bringing in Rob Lowe, COO Matthew Wiseman, and British Consul General Chris O'Connor.