Music isn't the only way Elton John fills a room in Los Angeles these days. His annual Oscar night party, which over the last five years has raised nearly $1.5 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, is also one of the year's hottest tickets.
The invitation-only event (dinner guests pay $1,000 each) moves this year to Wolfgang Puck's Spago Beverly Hills after being held mostly at Maple Drive restaurant in Beverly Hills, where it originated in 1992. The Oscar viewing party and after-dinner reception raise money for an organization that has distributed $13 million in grants worldwide for direct patient care services and prevention education for men, women and children living with HIV and AIDS.
Expected to attend this year's party are Oscar-nominated "Titanic" director James Cameron and Oscar nominee Minnie Driver, among hundreds of others. Including the host, of course.
"That's one thing in my calendar that is always certain . . . and it is wonderful the support we've received for it," John says. "It's something I feel I have to do. . .. . Realistically, I shouldn't be here [among the living] with all the things [especially drugs] that I've done to myself. If you get a second chance in life, the way I have, then you have to set values for yourself, and the foundation and Oscar night dinner is part of my pledge. I'll keep at it until a cure is found for AIDS."