The 29th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Pre-Party hosted by Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris alongside Sir Elton John and David Furnish, raised $3 million for the global effort to end AIDS with thanks to our generous donors, sponsors and supporters.
The Foundation’s first-ever virtual gala took place on Sunday, April 25 and featured a stripped back performance by GRAMMY Award-winning recording artist Dua Lipa and appearances by very special guests including Lady Gaga, Cynthia Erivo and the cast of It’s a Sin, among others. For the first time, EJAF supporters worldwide were invited to attend the famed Oscar party by joining a 60-minute pre-show special produced by Fulwell 73 at Rosewood London. The one-of-a-kind Pre-Party was powered by Cisco Webex to securely bring the event to audiences.
Guests at the Pre-Party received a warm welcome from Sir Elton John and David Furnish, as well as special appearances from the likes of Olly Alexander, Nathaniel Curtis, Omari Douglas, Cynthia Erivo, Callum Scott Howells, Elizabeth Hurley, David Williams, Lydia West, and others. Neil Patrick Harris brought humor to the show and Dua Lipa lit up the virtual Pre-Party with performances of her chart-topping hits including, “Levitating,” “Pretty Please,” “Hallucinate” and “Don’t Start Now.” Guests were also treated to an extra-special duet with Sir Elton John and Dua Lipa performing “Bennie and the Jets” and “Love Again.”Following the Pre-Party, the live Oscars telecast portion of the evening was hosted by Emmy Award-winning actor Eric McCormack and featured a performance by country singer MacKenzie Porter for donors and supporters.
‘We haven’t missed a year yet and we certainly weren’t going to miss our 29th annual Oscar Party to benefit my Foundation – even if it meant going virtual,’ says Sir Elton John, Founder, Elton John AIDS Foundation. ‘It was so much fun to perform with the gorgeous Dua Lipa and open up our Party to supporters all over the world. I’m so grateful to Neil for hosting, everyone who attended and all my friends who participated so that we could continue this legendary event to raise vital funds to end the AIDS epidemic.’
Bringing the event worldwide, the Pre-Party special was hosted across four different time zones leading into the live broadcast of the Academy Awards in each market.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in unimaginable ways, but the Foundation is committed to ensure that one pandemic does not override another. UNAIDS estimates that there will be an extra half a million deaths from AIDS this year alone in sub-Saharan Africa due to service disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the funds raised will support young people at risk and living with HIV all over the world. There are 1600 new cases of HIV in young people globally every day. This age group are smart and savvy and require health care services and support in different ways than adults do, and the Foundation will work to ensure that services are accessible on the platforms that are best suited to young people. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the world to explore many modes of virtual health care and we need to ensure that this continues in a digital era to serve young people affected by HIV.
Cisco Webex and Parx Casino partnered with the Foundation as the evening’s Leading Partners. Co-Sponsors included Gilead Sciences, Robert Kraft, Judy and Leonard Lauder, and Associate Sponsors Elena and Victor Pinchuk, Rosewood London, Sam’s Club, Iris and Michael Smith, as well as Official Airline American Airlines and Official Champagne Partner Charles de Cazanove. Event Chairs include Bob and Tamar Manoukian, Brett A. Pletcher and Aruna Ravichandran.
Since the annual event’s inception in 1992, The Academy Awards Viewing Party has supported the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s efforts to raise millions for their lifesaving work. With its presence across four continents, the Foundation is committed to overcome the stigma, discrimination and neglect that keeps us from ending AIDS.