When the Oscars and International Women’s Day collide, it’s sure to be quite the exciting event.
Ahead of Sunday’s (12 March) Academy Awards, TIME magazine held a gala on Wednesday (8 March) to celebrate IWD and 12 Women of the Year.
Among the chosen dozen were Oscar nominated Cate Blanchett, who’s up for Best Actress for her role in psychological drama Tár and Angela Bassett, who got the nod for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Marvel universe romp Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
It turns out Ariana DeBose’s controversial BAFTAs rap was right – Angela Bassett really did ‘do the thing’.
TIME’s second annual Women of the Year gala was held at the glitzy Four Seasons Beverly Hills in Los Angeles and honoured the women featured on the publication’s Women of the Year list, touted as a roll call of inspiring female leaders who use their platforms to fight for a more equal world.
This is the second time Angela Bassett has been nominated for an Oscar; the first occasion was for her role as Tina Turner in 1993’s What’s Love Got To Do With It when she lost out to Holly Hunter.
Speaking about her hopes for winning the Academy Award this year for her portrayal of Queen Ramonda in the Black Panther sequel, she acknowledged it would be an historic moment, saying: “It would be a part of my legacy as a woman, as a Black woman, and as a Black actress who dared to dream that I could continue the journey of the women who came before me in this business, making way for future generations of Black and brown women to one day stand on that stage.”
Eight-time Oscar nominee Cate Blanchett spoke of the importance of telling stories which haven’t been told, but need to be, especially in the current world climate.
“Even though we live in a world of uncertainty that can breed a pessimism that creates a misguided certainty of what will happen next,” she said, adding, “In this state of not knowing, I choose to turn that fear into excitement.”
The two Oscar nominees joined around 200 other guests at the gala, with TIME’s CEO Jess Sibley telling attendees and honourees, “You are all driving change and making history”.
Among the twelve Women of the Year recipients in attendance was Ukrainian activist Olena Shevchenko, who has faced opposition for co-founding the non-profit Insight, which supports LGBTQ+ communities in war-torn Ukraine. She explained that being featured on the list was a shared honour for all Ukrainian women.
Musician Phoebe Bridgers was also honoured in the dozen and urged people with platforms and privilege to use their positions for good, saying, “It can feel hopeless but I think there are a lot of people out there doing their absolute best… give your money and resources to them.”
Bridgers has used her own platform to draw attention to numerous issues, including abortion rights; at last year’s Glastonbury festival she took to the stage criticising the US Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade with the chant: “F*** the Supreme Court”. On Wednesday, she spoke of her belief of the necessity to protect transgender children’s rights to ensure gender equality.
Also on the Women of the Year list and in attendance at the event were Pakistani human rights and climate defender Ayisha Siddiqa and Iranian dissident Masih Alinejad who raised the issue of women’s rights in Iran, saying the country’s women are “heroes” who are fighting “gender apartheid.”
Financial inequality between men and women was also a talking point at the event, with honouree and boxing star Ramla Ali saying the gender pay disparity in sports between men and women is still huge. “It’s going to be a gradual fight, it’s not going to be a fight that happens overnight but slowly, slowly I see changes”, she explained.
Fellow athlete, soccer player Megan Rapinoe said that women sports people need the same investment as their male counterparts, saying, “Just give us the money”.
Rounding off the 12 Women of the Year honourees were ‘Abbott Elementary’ star Quinta Brunson, reproductive rights activist Verónica Cruz Sánchez, incoming CEO of Suntory Beverages Makiko Ono and Brazil’s Minister of Racial Equality Anielle Franco.
Make sure to follow along with Euronews Culture’s Oscars coverage on Sunday and Monday 12-13 March.