Rory Kennedy feted for 'Last Days in Vietnam' documentary

Rory Kennedy feted for 'Last Days in Vietnam' documentary
Hotelier Andre Balazs, left, actress Minnie Driver and filmmaker Rory Kennedy at the Dom Perignon luncheon. (Billy Farrell /

The event: She may have lost out in the Oscars race, but Rory Kennedy, director of the nominated documentary "Last Days in Vietnam," was the guest of honor last Friday at Dom Perignon's fourth annual pre-Oscars luncheon.

The crowd: Kennedy is Robert F. Kennedy's daughter, and among other guests toasting the filmmaker were her cousin Maria Shriver, sister-in-law Cheryl Hines (married to Robert Kennedy Jr.), actors Minnie Driver, Julian Sands and Peter Fonda, producers Ron Yerxa and Mark Samels, Valentino brand ambassador Carlos Souza, designer Nicky Hilton, hotelier Andre Balazs, Nicole Ruvo of Dom Perignon and the film's co-writer Mark Bailey, who also happens to be Kennedy's husband.

The scene: At the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood, guests ate a three-course luncheon, served with a variety of vintage champagnes. Mingling in the garden restaurant, Driver praised Kennedy's film and Shriver, an executive producer of "Still Alice," talked of her film, too, which focuses on Alzheimer's disease.

Driver called Kennedy an extraordinary filmmaker, saying, "To take a story that is as well known as this story and to make us see it with different eyes, that is a rare kind of talent."

Of Julianne Moore's Oscar nod for "Still Alice," Shriver said, "I'm really happy for Julianne. It's a great moment for her and a big moment for all of us who have been working to wipe out Alzheimer's."

The documentary:  "Last Days of Vietnam" (which lost out at Sunday's Oscars to "Citizenfour") focuses on the final days of the American presence, when the U.S. abandoned the embassy in Saigon, leaving the South Vietnamese people behind. Highlighted in the film are those who, despite official orders to evacuate U.S. citizens only, helped save as many Vietnamese lives as possible.

"From a very young age I was aware of Vietnam and I had an appreciation of the role it played in our history," Kennedy said. "I feel it's a seminal moment in our history and so, to look at the last days seemed particularly timely, given that we're now trying to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan."

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