Mirren, Bates, Nyong’o share life lessons at Elle dinner

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lupita Nyong’o, Helen Mirren and Kathy Bates shared life lessons with three generations of actresses at Elle magazine’s Women in Hollywood awards.

Nyong’o discussed the value of mentoring. Bates highlighted the importance of humility. Mirren imparted general life tips such as “at the blackjack table, always split aces, eights and nines,” and “ignore anyone who judges the way you look.” She also vowed to become “the nastiest of all nasty women.”

The three Oscar winners were recognized alongside Amy Adams, Felicity Jones, Anna Kendrick, Aja Naomi King and Kristen Stewart on Monday at the magazine’s 23rd annual celebration of women’s creative contributions in Hollywood. The honorees each appear on the cover of Elle’s November issue.

“In a million years, I wouldn’t have dreamed that I would be on the cover of a fashion magazine,” Bates said. “Ace Hardware, maybe.”

The 68-year-old actress told a story about the days after she won her Oscar for 1990’s “Misery.” The studio sent a limo instead of a town car. Fans on the street asked for her autograph. A bodyguard insisted he accompany her when she took her little dog for a walk to “do his business.”

Bates said she was mortified when she realized she didn’t have anything with her to pick up after the dog. She used a discarded piece of paper she found on the ground — one with her autograph on it.

“It’s been a wonderful night of patting ourselves on the back, and it’s great, we need to do that,” Bates said. “But humility also goes a long way.”
Mirren said the Elle honor inspires her to do more.

“I don’t look at this truly meaningful award as a recognition of what I’ve been fortunate enough to accomplish in the past,” she said, “but as a reminder to step up my game in the future.”

Nyong’o was introduced by her former mentor, director Mira Nair, and the actress talked about the experience of becoming a mentor herself.

Nyong’o worked as an intern for Nair in Africa more than 10 years ago. While starring in Nair’s latest film, “Queen of Katwe,” Nyong’o found herself guiding the young actors on set in Uganda — particularly Madina Nalwanga, who plays the title character.

“I learned in the most intimate and personal way how powerfully we can affect young girls with our choices,” Nyong’o said.

She encouraged the women at the private dinner ceremony to “demonstrate a larger vision of self-worth to those we mentor and teach.”

“Show young women than building community is stronger than the individual instinct to survive,” Nyong’o said. “That it’s not even who gets what piece of the pie, but about creating the pies ourselves and then making more for those in need.”

Ben Affleck introduced Kendrick by calling her “pants-wettingly funny” and “one of the most relevant actors working today.” She praised her fellow honorees, even imitating Stewart, and noted that none of them are taller than 5 feet 6 inches tall.

“I know that because I Googled it,” she said.

Dakota Fanning introduced Stewart, calling her “one of my best friends in the world.”

Other presenters included Ron Howard, Sharon Stone, Regina King and Jeremy Renner. Anthony Anderson hosted the untelevised event, where guests included Chelsea Handler, Tracee Ellis Ross, Vanessa Hudgens, Nikki Reed and Niecy Nash.

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