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2014 ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon Marks Groundbreaking Year for Achievement in Film and Television with Honors to Actor Lupita Nyong'o, Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Director/Writer Ava DuVernay Plus a Speci

The 7th Annual Awards Season Event Will Also Pay Tribute to Ten Performers Who Championed the Civil Rights Movement

NEW YORK, Jan. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- ESSENCE today announced plans to spotlight remarkable moments and performers in film and television with its eagerly anticipated 7th annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon, including a special celebration of Black Men in Hollywood: A Year in Film.

Black Women in Hollywood will return to the Beverly Hills Hotel on Feb. 27, 2014 to recognize the outstanding achievements of trailblazing women in film and television.  The event will honor three of the year's most impactful and inspiring talents, both in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes, with the premier African-American female brand's esteemed Black Women in Hollywood Award: Lupita Nyong'o (Best Breakthrough Performance); Cheryl Boone Isaacs (Trailblazer Award) and Ava DuVernay (Visionary Award).  In recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the event will also pay tribute to legendary performers, who were Champions of the Civil Rights Movement: Diahann Carroll, Nichelle Nichols, Jim Brown, Denise Nicholas and Clarence Williams III, among others.

Black Men in Hollywood: A Year in Film -- created to spotlight the actors who represented many of the most compelling and outstanding performances in 2013 -- will be a celebratory dinner hosted by Tracee Ellis Ross on Feb. 26, 2014 in Los Angeles.

"2013 was an extraordinary year of breakthroughs in Hollywood, with the naming of Cheryl Boone Isaacs as the first African-American president of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the emergence of gifted actor Lupita Nyong'o as a rising star, Ava DuVernay's Sundance, Spirit and Tribeca award wins, and the prominence of African-American leading men who created roles that displayed our diversity and humanity," said ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief, Vanessa K. Bush.  "During the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ESSENCE remains committed to honoring excellence in media both in front of and behind the camera."

Black Women in Hollywood commemorates ESSENCE magazine's annual Hollywood issue (March), which will be available on newsstands on February 7.  ESSENCE.com is giving fans exclusive access to the style and substance of Black Women in Hollywood by live streaming all the red-carpet action, including interviews with the stars, starting at 11:30 a.m. PST/2:30 p.m. EST and re-airing that evening at 6 p.m. PST/9 p.m. EST.

Since its inception in 2008, the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood event has honored some of the most cherished figures in the industry, including: Oprah Winfrey, Octavia Spencer, Pam Grier, Halle Berry, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Angela Bassett, Queen Latifah, Alfre Woodard, Taraji P. Henson, Viola Davis, Jennifer Hudson, Zoe Saldana, Mary J. Blige, Gabourey Sidibe, Quvenzhane Wallace, Jurnee Smollett, Ruby Dee, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson, Loretta Devine, Naomie Harris, Gabrielle Union, Mara Brock-Akil, Gina Prince-Bythewood, and Suzanne de Passe.  As a highlight of Oscar week, this elegant luncheon has hosted much of Hollywood's elite, including Tom Cruise, Will Smith, Amy Adams, Emma Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, Forest Whitaker, James Cameron, Terrence Howard, and Laurence Fishburne, among many others. 

Stay tuned to Essence.com for highlights and behind-the-scenes access to ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood.  Follow us on Twitter @essencemag #EssenceRedCarpet.  Join in the discussion on Facebook.

The ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon is presented by Lincoln, and sponsored by L'Oreal Paris, Target, and Colgate Optic White.

About the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood honorees:

LUPITA NYONG'O:
Last fall, Lupita Nyong'o made her feature debut in Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave alongside Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Based on the bestselling book and winner of a Golden Globe® for Best Motion Picture Drama, 12 Years tells the story of Solomon Northup, a free Black man from upstate New York, who was abducted and sold into slavery. Nyong'o plays the role of Patsey, Master Epps' (Michael Fassbender) slave who comes into contact with Solomon. For her performance, Nyong'o has received Screen Actors Guild®, Golden Globe®, BFCA, Independent Spirit, Gotham and two BAFTA nominations. She has received the LAFCC Best Supporting Actress award, The Palm Spring Film Festival "Breakthrough Award" and the 2013 Hollywood Film Awards "New Hollywood Award" and was named one of Variety's "10 Actors to Watch." Next up, the Kenyan actress will co-star alongside Liam Neeson, Michelle Dockery and Julianne Moore in the Universal Pictures thriller Non-Stop slated for February 2014. Nyong'o is also a filmmaker, having served as the creator, director, editor, and producer of the award-winning feature-length documentary, In My Genes.

CHERYL BOONE ISAACS:
Cheryl Boone Isaacs was elected President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in July 2013 by the organization's Board of Governors. She is beginning her 21st year as a Governor, representing the Public Relations Branch. Boone Isaacs served as First Vice-President during the past year, and in 2012 produced the Governors Awards. As the head of CBI Enterprises, Inc., she has consulted on the marketing efforts of blockbuster hits such as The Call, The Artist, The King's Speech, Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire, Spider-Man 2 and Tupac: Resurrection. Previously, she served as President of Theatrical Marketing for New Line Cinema, overseeing numerous box office hits such as Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Rush Hour. Prior to joining New Line in 1997, she was Executive Vice-President of Worldwide Publicity for Paramount Pictures, where she orchestrated publicity campaigns for Best Picture winners Forrest Gump and Braveheart.

AVA DUVERNAY:
Ava DuVernay is a writer, producer, director and distributor of independent film.‎ She has garnered many prestigious awards for her work, including the Best Director Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, the 2013 John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award and the Tribeca Film Institute 2013 Affinity Award for her second feature film, Middle of Nowhere.‎ ‎DuVernay has directed the network documentaries Venus Vs for ESPN and My Mic Sounds Nice for BET, along with John Legend Interludes Live, Essence Music Festival and Faith Through The Storm for TV One.‎ In 2013, she directed an episode of ABC top-rated drama series, Scandal. ‎She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences; she is also a board member of Film Independent and the Sundance Institute.

About Essence Communications Inc.:
Essence Communications Inc. (ECI) is the number one media company dedicated to African-American women, with a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events, and online.  The company's flagship publication, ESSENCE magazine, is the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women; generating brand extensions such as the ESSENCE  FestivalESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood and Black Women in MusicWindow on Our Women and Smart Beauty consumer insights series, the ESSENCE Book ClubEssence.com, and ventures in digital media (mobile, television and VOD). For 43 years, ESSENCE, which has a brand reach of nearly 11 million, has been the leading source of cutting-edge information and specific solutions relating to every area of African-American women's lives.  Additional information about ECI and ESSENCE is available at www.essence.com.

SOURCE Essence Communications Inc.

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