AP Entertainment Writer
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - When Diane Keaton learned she would receive the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, the 66-year-old actress immediately began panicking about her speech.
Keaton accepted the diamond-and-ruby-encrusted prize Wednesday at the Hollywood Reporter's 21st annual Women in Entertainment breakfast honoring the most powerful women in Hollywood.
She opened by warning that her speech wasn't funny, then proceeded to crack up the crowd inside the ballroom of the Beverly Hills Hotel.
"I just wanted my speech to be the most touching, heartfelt, funniest, yet also persuasive, because that's what a leader is," the Oscar winner said. "I just knew that my speech had to be way better than Meryl Streep's speech or Jane Fonda or Helen Mirren"- all previous Lansing Award winners.
Keaton paid tribute to her parents, particularly her mother, who died in 2008 of Alzheimer's. Keaton revealed all the things she wished she would have said to her mom, describing her as "my first and most inspired leader."
Wednesday's breakfast also featured speeches by Sandra Fluke, who encouraged the entertainers and executives in attendance to show girls in leadership positions on screen and hire women for such positions off screen; and Mindy Kaling, who confessed that even though the ballroom was filled with women, she opted to wear Spanx beneath her dress because, "I need to look banging for Diane Keaton."
The breakfast event coincides with the publication of the Hollywood Reporter's annual Power 100 ranking of entertainment's most influential women. Anne Sweeney, co-chairman of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group, tops the list for the third consecutive year.
There's still much progress to be made, said the magazine's Editorial Director Janice Min. Quoting comedian Joel McHale, she said, "If women ran Hollywood, `Magic Mike' would already be a theme-park ride."
AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen is on Twitter: www.twitter.com/APSandy.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)