Members of the film community came together for last night’s 42nd AFI Life Achievement Award gala honoring Jane Fonda. The Audi-sponsored event took place at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, Calif., and celebrated the actress’s prolific career of diverse roles in more than 40 films that range from charming comedies to powerful dramas.
Attendees of the black-tie affair included Eva Longoria (in Sass & Bide), Catherine Zeta-Jones, Diane Lane, Rosario Dawson, Morgan Freeman, and more who recognized Fonda for much more than the onscreen characters she plays. “Jane is a woman that stands for something, and that’s just something to look up to,” Longoria tells InStyle. Lane also spoke of her friend at the event. “This woman, she’s the best human being of my generation. Actually, of my lifetime I should say,” she says. “She’s generous, she’s funny, she’s sassy. She’s motivated from a genuine place, and that’s her power of example.”
Guests dined on a delicious meal by Wolfgang Puck during the ceremony, as they were treated to moving speeches from Sandra Bullock, Cameron Diaz (in Stella McCartney), Michael Douglas, Meryl Streep, and Sally Field, among others, who all paid tribute to the Hollywood icon’s many achievements. “If we’re really honest with ourselves, I think we all here just find Jane annoying because everything she does, she does just a little better than any of us do it,” Bullock jokes during her turn at the microphone. “Her posture’s better, her divorces are better, her butt is better. It’s like annoying annoying, annoying. She doesn’t judge those she meets. She always keeping an open mind. Everyone is equal. She wins Academy Awards. She fights for causes and charities that have no life without her, and she takes on life’s problems. She takes them on and doesn’t see them as a weight. She sees them as a lesson. Annoying.”
Fonda herself also spoke during the evening, where she expressed gratitude for those she has worked with over the years as well as those in attendance. “I think of the list of extraordinary people who’ve received this honor, and I’m so moved and really honored to be among them. I’ve been blessed to work with and know very many geniuses—real geniuses—actors and directors in our business, and I’ve had the great privilege to know them,” Fonda (in a custom Vera Wang gown and Chopard jewels) says in her speech. “It means the world to me that you all came out tonight and spoke so generously and lovingly to me.”
To see all the touching speeches, watch the AFI Life Achievement Award: Tribute to Jane Fonda on Saturday, June 14 at 9 p.m. EST/PT on TNT.
—With reporting by Brianna Deutsch