Over the weekend, MPTF (Motion Picture & Television Fund) hosted the 19th annual “Night Before” party, reimagined as a special virtual edition.
Hosted by the incomparable Wayne Brady, the evening raised nearly $2 million, which will be used to support those in the industry who benefit from MPTF’s charitable programs and services, especially during this unprecedented time.
The virtual party was filled with outstanding musical and comedy moments, including performances from legendary artists Andra Day, Gary Oldman, D-Nice, The E. Family ft Pete Escovedo, Sheila E., Juan Escovedo, and Peter Michael Escovedo, Macy Gray, and Jeff Ross, as well as host Brady. 12-time Oscar nominee Diane Warren participated in a special segment, highlighting some of her most memorable nominated songs with performances from LeAnn Rimes, El DeBarge, Laura Pausini, and Brandon Victor Dixon. The night also included special appearances from Lena Hall, Carla Renata, and Mark Fite.
MPTF also be celebrated the very special honor of receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at this year’s Oscars. This marks the first time an organization will be recognized with this award, after the Board of Governors voted to amend the rules in light of MPTF’s humanitarian efforts in the industry. Jean Hersholt, for whom the award is named, served as president of MPTF for 18 years, from 1938 until his death in 1956. Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, MPTF has been a safety net for entertainment industry members, both working and retired, for the past century by providing social, financial, residential, and health services. As an established lifeline within the entertainment community, MPTF serves as a model for an industry taking care of its own with decades of support from its donors, volunteers, and ambassadors.
“What an incredible way for us to kick off our year of celebrating MPTF’s 100th anniversary,” said MPTF CEO Bob Beitcher. “A night with wonderful food and spectacular entertainment led by the incomparable Wayne Brady and once again the amazing philanthropic support of our industry. Tonight, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award!”
Since the pandemic began, MPTF has tripled the number of community members it serves, assisting with financial relief, help with managing basic living expenses and health insurance, and issues around social isolation and loneliness, stress, and anxiety, and has made over 15,000 social work and care calls.
The year’s Host Committee members included Maria Bakalova, Rachel Brosnahan, Laverne Cox, Justin Hartley, Vanessa Kirby, Judith Light & Robert Desiderio, Leslie Odom Jr., Billy Porter, Susan Kelechi Watson, and Renee Zellweger.
The virtual “Night Before” was designed and produced by Kerry Brown and his Rolling Live Studios. MPTF partnered with acclaimed chef Antonia Lofaso for a specially curated VIP pre-event mixer hosted by Billy Harris, and featuring a remarkable performance by Tony Award nominee Elizabeth Stanley of songs from Broadway’s Jagged Little Pill.
This year’s generous presenting sponsors included Delta Air Lines, Penske Media Corporation (PMC), and Target.
The “Night Before,” held annually the night before the Academy Awards® has become one of the most coveted invitations in town since its inception in 2003.