The event: Anyone interested in A-list stargazing on Thursday needed to venture no further than Milk Studios in Hollywood, where Gwyneth Paltrow hosted the amfAR Inspiration Gala honoring TV powerhouse Ryan Murphy, the creator or co-creator of blockbuster shows including "Glee," "Nip/Tuck" and "American Horror Story." The luminous affair climaxed with a set by Lady Gaga and raised a jaw-dropping $3.1 million for AIDS research programs.
The scene: "It's auction time," said Paltrow onstage, "and you know what that means, millionaires and billionaires." She brought Andrea Fiuczynski of Sotheby's to the stage, along with celebrity auctioneer Sharon Stone, to coax big numbers from the bidding audience.
The goods included, among other things, a safari to the Serengeti, a customized Fiat 500 Cabrio and a selfie with Gaga, a major buyer herself, as was philanthropist Aileen Getty -- each forked over $200,000 for Timothy White photos of amfAR co-founder Elizabeth Taylor flipping a double bird.
To assist in upping the numbers, Jaime King modeled diamond earrings by Harry Winston, while Cuba Gooding Jr. rose from his seat to shout an impromptu "Show me the money" to a nearby bidder.
The program: Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer, CAA's Kevin Huvane and amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole participated in ceremonies. So did Angela Bassett and Cheyenne Jackson, who encouraged the audience to help launch a social media campaign to end AIDS by posting videos of themselves singing "That's What Friends Are For," originally written in 1985 to benefit amfAR.
"All you need to do is grab your phone and film yourself singing your rendition of the song," said Bassett. "Then share it on social media, or tag a friend or group of friends that you know that you can always count on, and include hashtag #SingForAIDS."
The entertainment: Gaga -- dressed in a soft pink, ladylike gown, draped and flowing into floor-length sleeves -- crooned standards including "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" and "Little Coquette." She declared her love for Murphy before noting, "There are a lot of gentlemen here, but nobody's offered me a glass of Champagne."
The crowd: Celebrities and power players included Lea Michele, Carly Rae Jepsen, Sarah Paulson, Diane Kruger, Joshua Jackson, Chloe Sevigny, Emma Roberts, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Sarah Hyland, Alessandra Ambrosio, Lily Donaldson, Denis O'Hare, Jamie Lee Curtis, Lisa Kudrow, Zendaya Coleman, Dylan Penn, Diane von Furstenberg, Barry Diller, Dana Walden, Bryan Lourd and Nina Jacobson.
Quote of note: In accepting his award, Murphy spoke of the fear of AIDS that has always infused his life, before talking of the support he's had from the Hollywood community, since initially wondering if it would be all right to wear a bracelet to a meeting.
"If I could go back in time and tell my 18-year-old self that I would be alive in 2015 and receiving this award, that young man would not have believed it," he said. "I have lost over 10 friends to HIV/AIDS and honestly I consider me standing here to be some kind of miracle."
The numbers: The gala was presented by Harry Winston and MAC Viva Glam and sponsored by Fiji Water, among others. It attracted more than 450 guests with tickets priced from $3,000 and tables ranging up to $200,000.
Ellen Olivier is on Twitter at @SocietyNewsLA