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Clinton, Obama surprise Women in Film awards winners, guests

Associated Press logo Associated Press 6/14/2017 By SANDY COHEN, AP Entertainment Writer
Elizabeth Banks attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Elizabeth Banks attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama and Sen. Kamala Harris made surprise appearances at Women in Film's awards ceremony with special videos, while veteran newsman Dan Rather called the group's work toward gender parity in entertainment an example of "basic American decency, tolerance and generosity."

Donna Langley attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Donna Langley attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Comedian Jessica Williams hosted the unexpectedly patriotic Crystal + Lucy Awards Tuesday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where F-bombs flew freely and "Wonder Woman" earned applause anytime it was mentioned.

Dan Rather attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Dan Rather attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Clinton said she hadn't seen "Wonder Woman" yet, but planned to: "Something tells me that a movie about a strong powerful woman fighting to save the world from a massive international disaster is right up my alley," she said before introducing Crystal Award-winner Elizabeth Banks.

Dan Rather attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Dan Rather attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Lucy Award winner Tracee Ellis Ross was misty-eyed as she watched Obama describe her as brilliant and hilarious.

Robert Redford attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Robert Redford attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

"Your character on 'Black-ish,' Bow, is an inspiration for folks all across this country," the former first lady said.

Tracee Ellis Ross attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Tracee Ellis Ross attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

"Oh my goodness gracious," Ross said.

Tracee Ellis Ross attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Tracee Ellis Ross attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

In accepting the award named for Lucille Ball, Ross said that "to be a part of reshaping what it is to be a modern woman through the face and being-ness of a joyful black woman is really special."

Mira Nair attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Mira Nair attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

But she said she wonders why such representations are so few.

Mira Nair attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Mira Nair attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

"Why are black women underrepresented in the stories that get told?" Ross asked, adding: "That question is not just a question for black women."

Lupita Nyong'o attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Lupita Nyong'o attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Robert Redford, who played Dan Rather in the 2015 film "Truth," presented the reporter with a humanitarian award.

Michaela Watkins attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Michaela Watkins attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Rather praised Women in Film for supporting equality, inclusion and fairness.

Elizabeth Banks attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Elizabeth Banks attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

"In standing tall about these characteristic American values, you do our country — not just the film industry, but our country — great service far beyond what you may imagine," he said. "It is of tremendous value to our nation as a whole."

Lupita Nyong'o attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Lupita Nyong'o attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong'o introduced filmmaker Mira Nair, who received the Dorothy Arzner Director's Award. Producers Michael Barker and Tom Bernard received the inaugural Beacon Award: The co-founders of Sony Pictures Classics have released more than 60 films directed by women.

Tom Bernard attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Tom Bernard attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Actress Zoey Deutch received the Max Mara Face of the Future Award, which Banks received eight years ago.

Elizabeth Banks attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Elizabeth Banks attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

"You get eight years before you get the Old Lady in the Business award, so good luck," Banks quipped.

Lake Bell attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Lake Bell attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

She said movies and TV shows by and about women are important because media images shape popular perspectives.

Tracee Ellis Ross attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Tracee Ellis Ross attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

"We are creating culture," she told the industry-heavy crowd. "We are sending messages out into the world, and those messages matter. Presenting strong independent women who have agency in TV and film, is really important — not just in this room, not just in our culture, but in global culture."

Tracee Ellis Ross attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Tracee Ellis Ross attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

The annual Crystal + Lucy Awards raise funds for Women in Film's research and education programs.

Tracee Ellis Ross attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Tracee Ellis Ross attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Besides awards, the gala offered a look at some of Women in Film's new initiatives, including the "Flip the Script" series of short videos premiering on YouTube Wednesday.

Zoey Deutch attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Zoey Deutch attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

___

Madelyn Deutch, from left, Zoey Deutch and Lea Thompson attend the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Madelyn Deutch, from left, Zoey Deutch and Lea Thompson attend the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at www.twitter.com/APSandy.

Lupita Nyong'o attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Lupita Nyong'o attends the Women In Film 2017 Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
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