Elton John’s Oscars bash enlists the Killers and Tiffany Haddish to raise $6.3 million to fight AIDS
On the night of the 91st Academy Awards, a bevy of Hollywood stars wore their most glamorous suits and gowns and strode down West Hollywood Park for a noble cause: fighting AIDS.
About 900 celebrities from TV, film, music and other industries cozied up on Sunday for an intimate night at Elton John’s 27th Oscars viewing party and fundraiser for his AIDS foundation.
Among the star-studded guests were Heidi Klum, Adriana Lima, Diane Lane, Quincy Jones, Emile Hirsch, Eric McCormack, Gus Kenworthy, Leona Lewis, Neal McDonough, Willie Garson, Anna Paquin and Nico Santos.
Attendees generated more than $6.3 million from dinner ticket sales, donations texted over the course of the night and a live auction following the awards ceremony.
Among the benefactors were Brody and Kaitlynn Carter Jenner, who texted a $1,000 donation during an Oscars commercial break. Not long after, a $5,000 pledge from the Caitlyn Jenner Foundation appeared on the multiple screens across the room.
Tiffany Haddish jokingly texted a $5 donation, but followed it with a “just playing. $500.”
And Patricia Arquette, the 2015 Oscar winner for her supporting role in “Boyhood,” made a hefty contribution in memory of her sibling Alexis Arquette, who died of an HIV-related illness in 2016.
But the biggest sums of the night arguably came from the post-Oscars live auction, which featured portraits, prints and a Yamaha piano signed by John.
A Mark Seliger portrait of Lady Gaga from Vanity Fair’s 2016 Oscar party sold for $50,000. The night’s host bid on a neon artwork by London-based artist Tracey Emin, but the piece went to a higher bidder and was sold for $140,000.
The most delightful surprise came during a ticket auction to attend the London premiere of “Rocketman,” an upcoming biopic about John. As auctioneer Alexander Gilkes took bids from inside the white tent, he paused to invite Taron Egerton, the movie’s star, to the stage.
“We’ve made a musical story about his life, so I’ve had the joy of singing all the songs,” Egerton said.
“Will you sing tonight?” Gilkes asked.
“No,” Egerton replied with a laugh. “The difficulty is, although I do sing, my piano playing is a little rusty, so I need a pianist, and I’m not sure there’s one the house tonight,” Egerton jested. “Can anyone think of a pianist?”
He was joined by John, who sat on the piano bench and led Egerton in a duet of his hit “Tiny Dancer.”
After the live auction, the Killers took to the spotlight to kick off the post-Oscar party. The Las Vegas rockers played numerous fan favorites — “All These Things That I’ve Done,” “When You Were Young” and “Mr. Brightside.”
And during their set, John accompanied the Killers’ frontman, Brandon Flowers, for a glittering performance of “Daniel,” John’s hit about a man returning home from the Vietnam War.
Before the night’s closing act, John and husband David Furnish made sure to thank guests for their support and financial contributions.
“David is right when he says that AIDS is so much more than just a virus,” John told the audience. “Along with the many fault lines in our world that it illuminates, AIDS also shows what can be done when the human spirit chooses love and hope.”
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