The gala, which took place on Sunday, February 26, at West Hollywood Park in Los Angeles, was generously sponsored by BVLGARI, Neuro Drinks and Diana Jenkins.
Attendees included Sir Elton John and David Furnish, Adam Lambert, Adriana Lima, Alano Miller, Alessandra Ambrosio, Amy Landecker, Andie Macdowell, Andrew Rannells, Anita Baker, Anna Musky, Ashley Tisdale, Ava DuVernay, Beck and Marissa Ribisi, Beejan Land, Bellamy Young, Bernie Taupin, Beverly Johnson, Big Sean, Bradley Whitford, Bryan Singer, Caitlyn Jenner, Caroline Vreeland, Carrie Brownstein, Cheyenne Jackson, Chris Colfer, Chris Cornell and Vicky Karayiannis, Chris Hardwick, Chrissy Metz, Ciara, Colman Domingo, Colton Haynes, Daniel Paltridge (President, North America at Bulgari), David Alan Grier, David Bisbal, Diana Jenkins, Dorit Kemsley, Eric Esrailian, Eric and Janet McCormack, Freida Pinto, Gabby Douglas, Gaby Hoffmann, Gordon Ramsay, Heidi Klum, Jane Seymour, Jay Duplass, JC Chasez, Jeffrey Tambor, Jhene Aiko, John Demsey (Group President at Estee Lauder), Josephine Skriver, Judith Light, Justin Hartley, Karen Buglisi (Global Brand President at M∙A∙C), Katharine McPhee, Keesha Sharp, Kiersey Clemons, Kyle MacLachlan and Desiree Gruber, Lady Caroline Grainge, Laverne Cox, Lea Michele, Leona Lewis, Lizzy McGroder, Lottie Moss, Luke Hemsworth, Lydia Hearst, Mark O’Brien, Matthew Morrison, Michelle Dockery, Mike Colter, Mike Medavoy, Parky and Peter Fonda, Patricia Hearst, Paul Kemsley, Paz Vega and Oren Segal, Petra Nemcova, Quincy Jones, Rachel Griffiths, Regina King, Ricky Martin, Robert Kraft, Ruby Rose, Russell Simmons, Russell Wilson, Ryan Adams, Ryan Kwanten, Sandra Lee, Seth MacFarlane, Sharon Stone, Smokey and Francis Robinson, Sting and Trudie Styler, Terry George, Tim and Jane Allen, Toni Collette, Tony Goldwyn, Tracee Ellis Ross, Vanessa Hudgens, and Yvonne Orji, among others.
Guests arrived at the Academy Awards Viewing Party for cocktails followed by a gala dinner and viewing of the 89th Academy Awards telecast. For a fifth consecutive year, Chef Gordon Ramsay, British celebrity chef, television personality, restaurateur, and holder of 14 Michelin stars, prepared an exquisite five-course meal for guests. Moët Hennessy provided champagne, wines were provided by Domaine Bertaud Belieu, and spirits were provided by Chopin Vodka and Clase Azul Tequila.
During the evening, Elton and David introduced Open Road and Survival Pictures’ new film – The Promise – which tells the story of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey at the outset of World War I. Written by Terry George and Robin Swicord and directed by Terry George (Hotel Rwanda), The Promise stars Oscar Issac, Christian Bale, and Charlotte Le Bon.
In addition to sharing EJAF’s vision for championing human rights, The Promise team at Survival Pictures has taken the unprecedented step of making the commitment to donate all proceeds from the film to nonprofit humanitarian organizations including EJAF. As part of this commitment, Survival Pictures matched the pledges guests made to EJAF via text and live auction purchases during the event to help make EJAF’s 25th annual Academy Awards Viewing Party a record-setting evening.
The dinner was followed by a lively auction conducted by Alexander Gilkes of Paddle8, which featured a Barrie Wentzell fine art print Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Hampstead Heath, 1970; BVLGARI Diva’s Dream Necklace in white gold with pavé diamonds; Lalique and Damien Hirst Eternal Love, Eternal Beauty, and Eternal Hope limited edition crystal panels; Norman Seeff fine art prints Carly Simon, Los Angeles, 1974, and Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, New York, “Robert and Patti II,” 1969; a RETNA painting Close Lipped, 2016; a five-day vacation at Steven Tyler’s Hawaiian retreat; and two tickets to the Vanity Fair Oscar Party.
Following the auction, St. Paul & the Broken Bones took the stage for an exciting performance of their hit songs, including “I’ll Be Your Woman” with Sir Elton John.
Audi, BBVA Compass, TheBLUEFISH, M∙A∙C Viva Glam, and StyleHaul partnered with EJAF as the evening’s Co-Sponsors; the Foundation for Global Sports Development, Fin Gray and Michael Melnick, Ron Burkle, and Bob and Tamar Manoukian were Associate Sponsors. The Foundation is especially grateful to the City of West Hollywood for continued collaboration with EJAF on shared goals. American Airlines is EJAF’s official airline.
In his remarks, EJAF Founder Sir Elton John thanked his guests for enthusiastically participating in an audience participation feature, which enabled guests to make gifts to the Foundation on the spot using their cell phones.
Throughout the evening, live messages from EJAF friends Laverne Cox, Sharon Stone, Jeffrey Tambor, Amy Landecker, Gaby Hoffmann, Judith Light, and Jay Duplass encouraged guests to text in pledges to support the Foundation’s urgent mission. The first 40 guests who donated $5,000 or more received a Christopher Makos limited edition print Andy American Flag, 1969.
“As we look back on our efforts over the past 25 years to prevent HIV infections, help people living with the disease, and speak up for their rights, we have a lot to be proud of and a lot of valuable experiences to inform our work going forward,” said Elton. “This party and our work have always been about love, inclusion, fairness, and good health for everyone. We believe these remedies can cure anything – most especially AIDS.”