Women in Film Oscars Party Celebrates Continued Fight for Parity: ‘We’ll Be Here As Long As It Takes’

The stage at the 17th Annual Women in Film Oscar Nominees was scarcely big enough for the impressive show of sisterhood on display.

The event, which celebrates the women, nonbinary and trans people nominated at the Academy Awards, coincided with International Women’s Day on March 8.

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When WIF CEO Kirsten Schaffer invited dozens of honorees to join her on the stage, they crammed in, shoulder-to-shoulder on the tiny platform at L.A.’s Catch Steak.

Among the small army on stage were “The Color Purple” star Danielle Brooks, “Past Lives” writer-director Celine Song, “The Fire Inside” songwriter Diane Warren and many others. Other attendees included “Lisa Frankenstein star Kathryn Newton, “Riverdale” alum Lili Reinhart and “Flamin’ Hot” director Eva Longoria.

During her toast, Schaffer stressed the importance of continuing to fight for equality in the industry. “New reports from UCLA, USC and Reframe released in the past few weeks illuminate the backslide of representation in front of and behind the camera. That, combined with a cultural and political backlash women, transgender people and people of color are facing across the country means that our work is more as an organization and as a community is more important than ever,” she said.

“It’s time to double down, lock arms, work together and ensure that inclusion isn’t just lip service, but we actually achieve it. We’ve been here for 50 years doing this work, and we’ll be here as long as it takes until we get to parity,” she added, prompting cheers and rapturous applause.

On the red carpet, WIF’s board of directors president Amy Baer emphasized her favorite part of the annual event: championing below-the-line female talent. “The production designers, the editors, the sound designers, the visual effects artists and the documentarians don’t really get a light shone on them, and it allows us to highlight all of the work that’s being done. Not just the highest-profile work — which is amazing and great and important. But to highlight everybody raises all women. The more you know, the more you’re inclined to hire them,” she explained. “It creates a bit of a virtuous cycle.”

“Nimona” producer Karen Ryan underscored the way film can show young girls that there’s not one ‘right’ way to be a woman. “Nimona is a female character knows who she is. She’s not trying to find herself or trying to change herself. She just wants community. She wants people to see everything she is and love her for that. I think that’s so relatable. I think so many women feel that way.”

“Flamin’ Hot” writer Linda Yvette Chávez said events like the Women in Film party allow those empowering stories to continue being told. “The more we celebrate each other, lift each other up and make connections with each other, the more we hire each other!”

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