Viola Davis to receive Sherry Lansing Leadership Award at The Hollywood Reporter’s annual breakfast

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Viola Davis

Oscar, Emmy and Tony-winning performer and producer Viola Davis will be honored at The Hollywood Reporter’s 2018 Women in Entertainment breakfast.

The annual star-studded gala, which recognizes women pioneers and industry leaders, will take place Dec. 5 in Los Angeles.

Davis will be honored with the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, given annually to a woman who has been a trailblazer and philanthropic leader in her industry, according to a news release.

The star of “Fences,” “Doubt” and “The Help,” who leads a stellar ensemble in Steve McQueen’s upcoming heist drama “Widows,” is a leader in childhood hunger advocacy, using her own experience and story of strength to shift the discourse around the issue. From 2014 to 2017, Davis served as an ambassador for the charitable initiative Hunger Is, raising more than $20 million to provide meals for children all over the country.

Davis has also worked to end poverty in her hometown of Central Falls, Rhode Island; she has donated to its public library; her high school alma mater; and the Segue Institute for Learning, a charter school. Through her partnership with the Vaseline Healing Project, Davis returned to Central Falls in 2016 to launch a free health clinic for residents unable to afford health care. She has also been outspoken on issues of racism, inequality and sexual violence in Hollywood.

“Viola uses her fame in such selfless ways, amplifying the unheard voices of others, and has inspired tremendous change both in her Rhode Island hometown and across the globe,” said Matthew Belloni, editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter, in a statement. “Her prodigious talent and commitment to do good is unparalleled, and she is the perfect embodiment of what it means to be a leader in the Hollywood community. I can’t think of a better recipient for the 2018 Sherry Lansing Award.”

Davis follows a long line of extraordinary Lansing Award recipients, including Tina Fey, Barbra Streisand, Shonda Rhimes, Oprah Winfrey, Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Helen Mirren, Halle Berry, Jodie Foster, Glenn Close, Barbara Walters and, most recently, Jennifer Lawrence.

“Now is the perfect time to honor a woman as bold and generous as Viola,” said Lansing, the former Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures and the first woman to head a Hollywood studio, in a statement. “Over her remarkable two-decade career, Viola has remained steadfast in her support for marginalized communities, while cultivating one of the greatest bodies of work in the industry. She’s a motivating and refreshing voice in Hollywood when we need it most, and I couldn’t be more excited to honor her at the Women in Entertainment breakfast.”

The Women in Entertainment breakfast, sponsored by Lifetime and Loyola Marymount University in partnership with the Entertainment Industry Foundation, coincides with the publication of The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Women in Entertainment: Power 100 list, the definitive guide to the leading women in film and television.

A highlight of the breakfast is the awarding of scholarships to young women who have taken part in The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program. This year, each of the 18 girls in the 2018 program — all from under-served high schools in South and East Los Angeles — will receive $10,000 toward their university costs, along with several full-ride scholarships to LMU. A total of $1.7 million in scholarships will be presented, according to a news release.


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