FOUNDATION FOR GOOD TIMES
Academy Awards boost AIDS awareness
The Elton John AIDS Foundation grew over $5,000,000 richer thanks to last nights' Oscars. His 16th annual viewing dinner was attended by Hollywood A-listers including Sean Penn, Ellen Degeneres, Quincy Jones, Kate Beckinsale, Billy Joel, Chace Crawford, Sharon Stone, Sean/Diddy/Puff/Combs, Heidi Klum, Seal, Jason Lewis, ZILLIONS of others and, inexplicably... Tara Reid.
Before we see some pics of all the cool kids having fun and raising tons 'o cash for a most worthy cause, here's the organization's mission statement from the official website of the Elton John AIDS Foundation:
To provide funding for educational programs targeted at HIV/AIDS prevention and/or the elimination of prejudice and discrimination against HIV/AIDS-affected individuals, and for programs that provide services to people living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS.
Here are your hosts, the great Elton John and his handsome Canadian husband, David Furnish:
Sean Penn to ham it up for the photogs...
Vanity Fair's lavish, celebrity-drenched annual affair, typically the top Oscar-night party, was canceled weeks earlier, before the end of the writers strike.
John, who wore an ornate Yohji Yamamoto black suit, silver tie and black-framed eyeglasses, pointed at the crowd and banged on his piano. The crowd howled and clapped when he broke out hits such as "Rocket Man" and "Tiny Dancer."
Patricia Clarkson waved her arms in the air. Calista Flockhart swayed next to beau Harrison Ford. Petra Nemcova jumped on a few chairs and shimmied. Faye Dunaway bopped her head.
Mary J. Blige sang a duet with John, as did Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears, clad in a neon yellow-green suit, who jumped on John's piano and did the twist.
The party's second biggest belle of the evening was Marion Cotillard. Clutching her best actress trophy for "La Vie en Rose," she swept into the bash, rushing past reporters and bear-hugging her family and friends inside the party.
"I am a big fan of hers. I was very moved by her win," a teary-eyed Sharon Stone, wearing a white, tailored tuxedo, told The Associated Press earlier, when the room's dozens of enormous TV screens showed Cotillard tearfully receiving the honor.
Actors gushing over other actors continued throughout the festivities. Sean Penn, who snagged a best-actor win for 2003's "Mystic River," called this year's winner, Daniel Day-Lewis, "the greatest actor ever recorded on film." Lewis won for his performance in "There Will Be Blood."
Ellen DeGeneres, seated next to Portia de Rossi and Josh Groban, said Oscar host Jon Stewart was "doing a great job."
DeGeneres, who hosted last year's Oscars, joked: "It's better to host. It goes faster."
John and David Furnish shared DeGeneres' table during dinner, along with Blige and her husband. Nemcova, who arrived with Penn, sat with him and Kate Beckinsale, Chris O'Donnell and Larry King. Guests, who also included Billy Joel, Christian Slater and Russell Simmons, ate pear salad, risotto, beef tenderloin, cheese with walnuts and chocolate mousse.
Pink and orange orchids dotted the tables, with palm fronds lending a California dash of glamour on a patio outside. The party, co-sponsored by Chopard and VH1, raised $5.1 million.
However, the first post-Oscars destination for the night's winners and honorees was the Governors Ball, held in the Hollywood & Highland complex just upstairs from the Kodak Theatre.
The room was all red and gold, reflecting Oscars' red carpet and golden statuettes. Glass bubbles hung from the ceiling and red roses dotted each table.
The most blinged-out table was No. 303, where Joel and Ethan Coen and Javier Bardem proudly displayed their Oscar statuettes for "No Country for Old Men."
"Juno" screenwriter Diablo Cody kept her Oscar close, hesitantly giving it up when a friend asked to touch it.
Other stars mingled about the ballroom. Cate Blanchett talked with Julian Schnabel, while Viggo Mortensen draped himself with the flag of his favorite soccer team.
John Travolta and his wife, Kelly Preston, nibbled on food prepared by Wolfgang Puck, who chatted with guests while wearing his white chef's coat.
Back at a viewing party in West Hollywood, the Envelope Please bash at The Abbey — hosted by Jennifer Love Hewitt, who wore a dazzling white Elsie Katz Couture gown — housed more than 500 guests underneath a tent strung with hundreds of tiny yellow lights.
The event raised $500,000 to benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles. Attendees, who included Ricki Lake, dined on sirloin steak or pasta, and drank cocktails named after best-picture nominees.
Across town, guests at the annual Night of 100 Stars viewing gala at the Beverly Hills Hotel ate chicken, risotto and sorbet and guzzled energy drinks.
Mr. Blackwell, known for his annual worst-dressed list that skewers celebrities, wasn't impressed by the revealing outfits.
"Most are out to show their bosoms," he said, his throat hoarse because of laryngitis. "I've seen a few beautiful dresses, but there's nothing really original here."
Who the hell is Mr. Blackwell and why don't his outfits ever get publicized and criticized ?
How the heck did Chris O'Donnell and Christian Slater manage to get invited to this party? I ask you, it's the day after the 80th Annual Academy Awards -- do you know where your has-been-actors-from-the-90's are?
If I'd been at Elton John's fabulous little shindig, I totally would have hung out with Jake Shears, Patricia Clarkson, Ellen & Portia and Faye Dunaway.
And while I was at it, I also would have asked Faye Dunaway...
BTW - go here to donate to the Elton John AIDS Foundation