Comedienne Amy Poehler, Charlize Theron and Elizabeth Banks were also feted at the Beverly Wilshire hotel during Variety magazine's annual Power of Women ceremony, which honours celebrities for their philanthropic efforts.
Kidman was praised for her work with UN Women (United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women), telling the crowd, "I became involved with this organisation because I was raised by a feminist mother - and she said to never be frightened of using the 'F' word!"
Meanwhile, Hudson was feted for the foundation she set up in memory of her slain nephew, and Washington took the stage to talk about her work campaigning for arts education in low-income areas.
And Theron, who advocates for Hiv/Aids awareness and research, fought back tears as she dedicated her trophy to her own mother in the audience.
She said, "It's impossible for me to accept this award because there's someone here so much more powerful than me. I hope you're Ok with me giving this award to my mum. That b**ch was building roads in Africa when no woman was doing that. I thank you, Mum, for teaching me by your actions how to be a strong woman, and for turning me into a p**sy every time I talk to you."
Banks gave a comedic speech about women's health, the cause closest to her heart: "There's a lot of talk about boobies, and I'm all about boobies. But you are four times more likely to die from heart disease than breast cancer... I mean, when was the last time your gyno (gynaecologist) checked your cholesterol?"
Having taken British cinemas by storm over Christmas, the excellent family comedy Paddington is finally set to hit US theaters this weekend. If you’re unfamiliar...