Hollywood’s rising stars talk Oscars and activism at annual Vanity Fair party

Host Dakota Johnson attends Vanity Fair and L'Oreal Paris' Toast to Young Hollywood party at Delilah in West Hollywood on Feb. 21.
(Emma McIntyre / Getty Images for Vanity Fair)
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With the Academy Awards just days away, it’s not just Hollywood A-listers who are eagerly waiting to see who will take home Oscars on Sunday. The industry’s rising stars are too.

“I was a huge fan of ‘La La Land,’ ” “Game of Thrones” star Nathalie Emmanuel told The Times at Vanity Fair’s annual Young Hollywood party Tuesday night at Delilah in West Hollywood. “It’s really difficult [to choose a favorite], because so many good movies have happened this year like ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Fences’ and ‘Hidden Figures.’ ”

“black-ish” star Yara Shahidi, who said “Hidden Figures” was one of her favorites, couldn’t help but play the fence (no pun intended). “Of course, I’m rooting for my boy Ashton [Sanders] in ‘Moonlight,’ because he’s the homie,” she said with a laugh.


Though the party was held in honor of Tinseltown’s young, burgeoning talent, stars of all ages packed the event, hosted by “Fifty Shades Darker” actress Dakota Johnson and the magazine’s West Coast editor, Krista Smith.

Victoria Justice (“Victorious”), Shameik Moore (“Dope,” “The Get Down”), Lakeith Stanfield (“Atlanta”), Broadway phenom Cynthia Erivo (“The Color Purple”), Fifth Harmony singer Normani Kordei, Meryl Streep’s daughter Grace Gummer (“Mr. Robot”) and Arnold’s son, Patrick Schwarzenegger, were just a few of the up-and-comers in attendance.

The party, sponsored by L’Oréal Paris, was held in support of the Roar Foundation Shambala Reserve, an organization established by Tippi Hedren, Johnson’s grandmother and Hollywood royalty.

“It’s just nice to shed light on how talented the youth is these days,” said Johnson.

While undecided on who should take home Oscar on Sunday night, Shahidi didn’t hesitate when asked about her generation’s commitment to activism.

“I feel like it’s kind of a reemergence of things we’ve seen before, in that being a young entertainer, you’re not limited to your craft but rather encouraged to be involved in society and encouraged to be an activist,” Shahidi said. “There’s no longer this negative stigma around being involved in your community or feeling as though you can be blackballed for being vocal. I think if anything, it’s being encouraged, and it’s a pretty amazing space to grow in.”

Gummer, who admitted that her superstar mom is her least favorite subject to discuss with reporters (“I wish they asked me anything else, honestly,” she said good-naturedly), did echo Streep’s conviction to speak her mind.


“We can’t be afraid anymore,” Gummer said. “We all have to put ourselves out there and be fearless.”

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