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ELLE reveals the faces of its 2015 Women in Hollywood edition

Photos logoPhotos 10/16/2015

© Paola Kudacki for ELLE (Amy Schumer, Alicia Vikander, Kate Winslet, Dakota Johnson, Ava DuVernay, Sa...

ELLE’s annual November Women in Hollywood issue honors Ava DuVernay, Dakota Johnson, Carey Mulligan, Salma Hayek, Gena Rowlands, Amy Schumer, Alicia Vikander, Kate Winslet.

ELLE Editor-in-Chief Robbie Myers wrote about the honorees in her editor’s letter, noting that these “eight extraordinary women deserve this moment of praise and reflection for illuminating the many realities of what it means to be a woman right now.”

The cover stars will be honoured at the 22nd annual ELLE Women in Hollywood Awards in Los Angeles on October 19th to celebrate the creative contributions they have made to the world of film—both in front of and behind the camera. ELLE Editor-in-Chief Robbie Myers and SVP & Publisher Kevin O’Malley, together with presenting sponsors L'Oréal Paris and Calvin Klein Collection, and supporting sponsor David Yurman, will bring together the honorees and their presenters—along with fellow artists, legends and leaders from across the industry—for this year’s dinner and awards celebration. Gena Rowlands will be honored with the L'Oréal Paris Legend Award and Dakota Johnson will receive the Calvin Klein Spotlight Award.

Find out what their co-stars and directors had to say about them.

Alicia Vikander

© Paola Kudacki for ELLE In a single year, she's vaulted past ingenue status, bursting onto the scene as a fully baked, fashion world-beloved movie star who shines equally brightly in sci-fi thrillers, throwback action flicks, and period dramas.

Director Joe Wright, the director of Pride & Prejudice and Anna Karenina on Vikander: “The thing about Alicia and that dance training is that those ballerinas, they get up on those pointes until their feet bleed, literally, and yet they keep this serene composure, as if they are floating through space. There’s part of that to Alicia. She’s incredibly determined and hardworking, and yet, from up above, it all looks simple and elegant and easy.”

Kate Winslet

© Paola Kudacki for ELLE She’s been on film since she was a girl, but this Oscar perennial has always been all woman, breathing life (and fire) into some of the strongest, love-’em-and-hate-’em female characters in Hollywood history.

Steve Jobs Writer Aaron Sorkin on the magnitude of Winslet’s star power: “Kate is what’s called ‘that’s that’ casting. We were reading for the role with four or five of the best actresses in the world. Then we got a call that Kate Winslet wanted to play it—and that was that. In an earlier era, I think she would have been competing with Katharine Hepburn for roles—and getting them.”

Amy Schumer

© Paola Kudacki for ELLE Everywoman. Superwoman. And without a doubt the best thing to come shooting across the cultural landscape in 2015. All hail Hollywood’s newly minted, always-hilarious truth-teller-in-chief.

Schumer’s Trainwreck costar Brie Larson on how she uses comedy to break down boundaries: “We were shooting the baby shower scene and after Amy introduced everyone, she said, ‘Okay, let’s go around the room and tell each other when we first got HPV. She brings to light the parts of our lives that we usually conceal. She’s using comedy to break down boundaries.”

Dakota Johnson

© Paola Kudacki for ELLE Yes, she’s got stardom in her blood. But that addictively watchable, ultraversatile, funny-dramatic-engaging streak? That's entirely her own. Now, with Fifty Shades under her (ahem) belt, Johnson is going toe-to-toe with the best in the business.

Director of Fifty Shades of Grey, Sam Taylor-Johnson, on casting Johnson: “There had to be a sense of wide-eyed, excitable curiosity, but grounded in a worldliness. She had to have an inner strength that would carry her through the darkest of moments. I knew straightaway that Dakota was the girl.”

Ava DuVernay

© Paola Kudacki for ELLE For years, she made small but affecting, insider-beloved films. Then came Selma: a movie that landed her in the center of a Hollywood hailstorm, and on a very short list of the most important directors of her generation

"Glory" star and rapper Common on working with DuVernay: “[She] created an environment where we felt like we were doing something with a higher purpose.”

Salma Hayek

© Paola Kudacki for ELLE She could have been the bombshell, period. Instead, she became a risktaking, snake-charming, show-running charisma machine—unafraid to take what is rightfully hers, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.

Hayek’s Frida costar, Alfred Molina, on her greatness and business prowess: “I’ve said that if Salma had been white and male, she would have been bigger than Harvey Weinstein. I still believe that. Salma is a great businesswoman; she’s creative in a way that takes people by surprise.”

Carey Mulligan

© Paola Kudacki for ELLE To every role, this formidable brit brings both a poetic beauty and an always sharp, often sly, rock-solid emotional intelligence unrivaled by actresses her age (or any age). The only thing she can’t play is dumb.

Mulligan’s Skylight costar, Bill Nighy, on how “dreamy” she is to work with: “There is no shtick. She arranges to be unarmed, the better for things to happen. And she is completely dreamy to do business with, charming and kind and brave as f---.”

Gena Rowlands

© Alexei Hay for ELLE She dropped a bomb on the Hollywood blonde archetype and became the first indie queen—and, 100-plus roles later, one of the most influential actresses in American film.

Mia Farrow on why Rowland was such a unique actress for her time:  “I had seen her when I was a teenager in Lonely Are the Brave with Kirk Douglas. I’d never seen anyone that beautiful with a certain gravitas. It was particularly unique in that time, when many women were trying to be girlish, affecting a superficial, ‘I’m a pretty girl’ attitude. It seemed to be the best way to succeed, but Gena did none of that. There was a directness—not that she wasn’t fun and didn’t smolder—but it came from a place that was both genuine and deep.”

To read all of the honorees’ funny and revealing stories, check out the full feature exclusively in the November issue of ELLE— available digitally and in select locations now, and on newsstands from October 20.

(Pictures and words courtesy of ELLE)

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