The media mogul was recognised for her work with the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation, and she received a standing ovation from guests at the event, including Salma Hayek, Anna Kendrick and Gwyneth Paltrow.

The Variety Power of Women luncheon is held biannually in Los Angeles and New York, and honours women in the entertainment industry who work with charitable causes.

Introduced by director Ava DuVernay at the event at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire hotel in L.A. on Friday (09Oct15), Oprah told the room, "What we've done, you can do. The real empowerment comes when each person leaves this room and makes a decision."

Becoming visibly emotional while talking about her girls' school in Africa, she said, "It's a beautiful thing to receive an award and to be on the cover of Variety. But the true reward comes from the lives you have been able to touch and you know that you have impacted."

Anna Kendrick was also honoured at the event for her work with the Trevor Project, which helps suicidal and troubled members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

Honouree Gwyneth Paltrow was introduced onstage by producer Ryan Murphy, who revealed he is "obsessed" with the actress. The Goop founder was noted for her work with L.A. Kitchen, and in her speech, she recalled the times she was urged not to sound intellectual during interviews for fear of being seen as "ambitious".

Gwyneth added, "Today, the power of women rings a bit differently and you can feel the shift."

She later posted a selfie on with Oprah, writing, "I'm s**tting in my paaaaants!!!!!!!!!! @variety @oprah #idol (sic)".

Salma Hayek drove the guests wild with a stirring speech about gender inequality in Hollywood, and said to much applause, "We are the generation that said, 'We're not going away at 30'. They cannot ignore us anymore."

The actress was honoured for her Chime for Change project, which she co-founded with Beyonce and Gucci in 2013. It was started with the aim of empowering women and girls around the world through education, health and justice.

Salma added, "We are a fantastic generation. I could not have made it without the women who gave me the strength today. For all of you who don't know what time for change is, it is a call for everyone to use social media for social justice."