We’re not the type who cries during Extreme Makeover: Home Edition or Verizon commercials or when that diamond-ad music starts playing. (Duh duh da da, duh duh da da.) Still, we had a hard time fighting the stereotype during Glamour’s tissue-fest of an awards show Monday night at Carnegie Hall. The magazine’s “Women of the Year” honorees ranged from three generations of Missoni women to Queen Latifah — who, judging from chorus of screams that greeted the mere mention of her name, is the most popular person in the world — and all of them, plus nearly everyone in the audience, had wet eyes through much of the evening.
Not even tomboyish Sandra Bullock — who knelt down awkwardly to put her award on the floor (“There’s no cool way to hold that thing”) and interrupted her speech to ask the audience if her dress was see-through — could keep it together. She cried twice, once when Barbara Walters presented the award, highlighting the millions she’s donated to disaster relief, and again a few minutes later, during her acceptance speech, when she acknowledged the dozen or so American servicewomen in the audience. And touching moments kept on coming: a tribute to Ann Richards; an acknowledgement of Somaly Mam, a Cambodian woman who’s rescued 3,000 girls from sexual slavery; and a video of female athletes thanking lifetime-achievement honoree Billie Jean King. “I’ve only seen my husband cry twice in fifteen years,” Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive told us later. “Once was when the Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1993, and the second time was watching that video about Billie Jean King.”
When the men present weren’t crying, they were offering case studies in sensitivity training. Even Larry David got it right when he introduced his wife, Laurie David, an environmental activist and producer of An Inconvenient Truth. “I’ll tell you this,” he said, “if the people working on a cure for baldness had the same passion and commitment as my wife, I would be sitting here tonight with a full healthy head of hair.”
The night belonged to the women, and despite a State of the Union–worthy number of standing ovations, no one owned the audience — the top two tiers of which were filled with hysteria-prone girls from local high schools — like Latifah. Catherine Zeta-Jones introduced her friend Queenie (cue screams from the rafters) in possibly the showiest, most dramatic reading of a TelePrompTer we’ve ever witnessed. “Aw, that’s so nice of Catherine,” said Latifah when she took the stage. “I didn’t have to pay her but a hundred bucks to do that.” Then she thanked her sick-and-stuck-at-home mom “who taught me that every girl is a queen,” pledged $150,000 to Somaly Mam’s efforts, and led the girls in a chant: “I can … do anything … If I believe … in myself!” The chorus of squeals went supersonic. We covered our ears. And then we cried.
— Jada Yuan