Every year leading into awards season The Hollywood Reporter puts together an incredible series of roundtable discussions between the year's most buzzed about performers, directors, producers and cinematographers. The collection of actresses THR chose to represent 2014 brings together the most perfect combination of feminine star power and intellect. The excitement I felt when I saw their selection caused me to nearly burst from happiness before ever pressing play.

If you're anything like me, you long to pick the brains of these brilliant leading ladies, or merely be in their presence. This amazing discussion allows you to do both.

August: Osage County's Best Supporting Actress hopeful: Julia Roberts
12 Years a Slave's Best Supporting Actress hopeful: Lupita Nyong'o
Fruitvale Station's Best Supporting Actress hopeful: Octavia Spencer
American Hustle's Best Actress hopeful: Amy Adams
Saving Mr. Banks' Best Actress hopeful: Emma Thompson
Lee Daniels' The Butler's Best Supporting Actress hopeful: Oprah Winfrey 



Some of the best moments:

Lupita Nyong'o on how seeing The Color Purple changed her life: "When I was a little girl, I was always acting. The first time I thought I could be an actor was when I watched The Color Purple. I grew up in Kenya, and a lot of our programming was from all over the world, and we didn't see ourselves on screen. It was very rare to see a world populated with people that look like me. There was Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah and everything, and they were doing this thing that just called me. You know? It's so meaningful to be sitting here beside you [Oprah Winfrey], and it means a lot to me, so thank you for planting that seed."

Amy Adams on why Hollywood is still so oriented towards young men: "I mean, it's what sells, right? It's a business. As much as its an art form to all of us sitting here, and we put our artistic selves into it...it is a business. And at some point, you seek the women out in the world and say, 'Come support us. Come support other women. Be enthusiastic to see smart women of all ages and all races portraying life.' That's when it will make a difference, when we as women can really support and celebrate each other."

Julia Roberts on working with Meryl Streep: "This is what I learned working with Meryl Streep: She works her ass off. It is not a magic trick. She does not just show up and be brilliant. You see the mechanics of it in a way that I found to be such a comfort."

Oprah Winfrey on what worried her about accepting the role of Gloria: "What I've been worried about is people getting over the "Oprah" factor. The greatest compliment to me was someone saying, 'I went to the theater, and I didn't see you.' Because everybody's going in there expecting to see me as you've seen me for 25 years, every day at 4 o'clock. To be able to lose that, to me, was really the greatest tribute."

Julia Roberts on how her acting as changed since the birth of her twins: "It certainly decreased a great deal. But you know, I had been working for 18 years when I had Hazel and Finn, almost nine years ago. I felt like I earned that time in my house, in my kitchen and in bed all day with these two little people. I felt that was my present to myself, because I was fortunate to work a lot and I worked really hard. I was very devoted to that, and then I earned this jewel box of a life that I felt completely entitled to."


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Audrey Brees
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