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The Girl Next Door

Red Carpet Report: Women take the spotlight in 'Elle' tribute

USA Today
By Kelley L. Carter

What: Elle magazine's 16th annual Women In Hollywood tribute

Where: Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles

Guest list: The iconic Julie Andrews was honored Monday night, along with Emily Blunt, Katie Holmes, Julianne Moore, Zoe Saldana, casting director Bonnie Timmermann, Robin Wright Penn and Renee Zellweger. Others in attendance included host Alec Baldwin, Benicio del Toro, Bill Nighy, Carol Burnett, Catherine Hardwicke, Curtis Hanson, Diane Kruger, Jenna Elfman, Kat Dennings and Amber Rose.

Fashion fix: Holmes blushed every time anyone complimented her black Alaia look — the top was see-through. "I really just wear what feels comfortable and what I like," she said, looking away shyly. Holmes also talked about how her recent Broadway turn sparked an interest in doing more, though she said she couldn't reveal future projects. "I had a wonderful time and I loved working with everyone. I loved performing eight times a week. And when you love who you're working with and you keep doing it over and over again, that's exciting," she said. "The schedule was great. You just make it happen. I found that I could handle more the busier I was. The city was so great to my family too." And who was she most looking forward to spending time with at the event? Andrews. She says her daughter, Suri, is a big fan. "The Sound of Music is always played in our house!"

News you can use: Emmy winner Baldwin says he asked his 30 Rock producers and writers for one thing only this season: find his character some love. "I told them I want to have a woman in my life," he says. "The women in my life only last for days. Just a matter of days! Isabella Rossellini. Salma Hayek. Edie Falco. Gone. I said 'I want a woman to stick around.' " … Diane Kruger, wearing Balenciaga, says she's still riding the high from her recent film, Inglourious Basterds. "It has been difficult to sign on to a different project. When you work with Quentin Tarantino… I mean, it doesn't get any better than that." She said last week she signed on to do a film with Liam Neeson. Production starts in January. "I'm a Serbian illegal immigrant. It's going to be major work; it's an undertaking."

Andrews' crush: It may have been a night for the ladies, but Andrews, who received the L'Oréal Paris Legend Award, made sure to give the men some props, too. Up next for her is a starring role with Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson in Tooth Fairy, which is out in January. "He's delicious," she drawled. Andrews also hinted at some future projects: "I'd love to do some more work on Broadway, perhaps directing. I have a couple of things that I'm following quietly. So you never know," she chirped.

Renee and Bobby McGee?: Zellweger stunned in a tightly-fitted red-carpet red Carolina Herrera strapless dress. "This is flattering and it's a little bit hard for me to digest because I kind of feel like I just started," Zellweger said of being honored. "I know that there's so much to learn, and I'm a little beside myself." And as for that much-talked about Janis Joplin bio-pic? It's still in the mix, she says. "I have my fingers crossed. We'll see."

No more drama: Saldana, who was being presented with the Calvin Klein Collection Spotlight Award, said that the night was a chance to toast sisterhood. "For many years, we were conditioned to be competitive," said Saldana, who just flew in from Tokyo earlier that morning, promoting Avatar. "But now there's this solidarity and this pride. I feel very grateful I was raised by a mother who taught me to never look to my side and feel bitter because somebody looked better than I did or was more successful."

Scene stealer: Penn, who avoided chatting with the media on the off-white carpet before the event, was brief in her acceptance speech. While others gave talks filled with charming anecdotes, she kept hers simple, only saying, "Elle … thank you very much!" Baldwin was caught off guard by her short time at the podium. "My God, that was quick!" he said after running back up to the staging area.

One-liner: "Someone just asked me if I was a friend of Keith Richards," Nighy said before presenting to Blunt. "I said, 'No, I just look like I'm a friend of Keith Richards.' "

Girl power: Blunt and her fiancée, Krasinski, steered clear of talking with media before the event, but she joked about the advancement of women in Hollywood as she accepted her award. "The good news is I think we're here. It's the dawn of a new era. I'm excited about a script I heard about the other day called Bitches. We're burying the notion that Hollywood is a man's world," she said, pausing and then looking down at Zellweger. "Renee let's do it. Let's do Bitches."

Friday Night Fever: Becki Newton dished about the switch her TV series Ugly Betty made from Thursday night to Friday night. "We feel so fortunate that we're still doing it. As far as when it airs and how many people watch it, we can't control that, but we can continue to enjoy and be proud of that we're doing."