At last night’s Women in Film 2014 Crystal + Lucy Awards in Los Angeles, the room was filled with many of Hollywood’s greatest leading ladies. The annual benefit gala honored Kerry WashingtonCate BlanchettEva LongoriaRose Byrne, and Frozen director Jennifer Lee for being exemplary women in the entertainment industry—women who lead by example, who are creative, groundbreaking, and who excel at their chosen fields.

“This award is from people whose careers I admire, who’ve been trail blazers in their own field, and that’s what makes it so special,” Blanchett (in Chloe and Lorraine Schwartz) tells InStyle. Longoria (in Max Mara) also expressed her excitement for being at the event. “I’m so honored because there’s so many great women here tonight, and I love being anywhere that celebrates women,” the actress says. The rest of the night’s winners further shared their gratitude. “I feel really grateful to be part of this,” Washington (who stepped out for the first time since become a mother) shares. “These women are so extraordinary, so it’s very special to me to be in their company.”

Aside from each of the honorees, other guests included Laura Dern, Kristen Bell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lake Bell, Shonda Rhimes, Tracee Ellis Ross, and more, who all came out to celebrate their colleagues at the event, which was hosted by Max Mara. Blanchett took time to reflect on what makes women so exceptional, which was the theme of the evening. “I think it’s resilience, and I think we have good instincts,” she says. Byrne also added to that sentiment. “Women, I mean, they do everything!” she says. “Having women in power is beneficial for everybody.”

Aside from celebrating the award winners, the dinner also raised funds for Women in Film’s educational and philanthropic programs and initiatives that promote educational and professional opportunities for women working in the entertainment industry. Overall, it was a beautiful and touching occasion. “I was so moved by everyone who spoke. There were so many laughs and tears,” Washington says. “It was a really beautiful and truly inspiring evening.”

Click through the gallery to see more photos from InStyle’s exclusive coverage of the event!

—With reporting by Brianna Deutsch