The original invitation for the An Unforgettable Evening event merely read “surprise performance.” And that act was none other than singer Miley Cyrus, who capped off this year’s star-studded fundraiser for the Women’s Cancer Research Foundation with a four-song set.
“Tom Ford was nice enough to make me this suit, and I’m feeling … powerful,” she said, after belting out her first number, “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart,” the song she wrote with recent Academy Award-winner Mark Ronson. She followed up with her song “The Climb” and covers of Joni Mitchell’s “River” and the Who’s “My Generation.”
Spearheaded by honorary co-chairs Rita Wilson, Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, the gala at the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Beverly Hills on Thursday honored Kate Hudson and Gabrielle Union and raised $1.5 million for WCRF, a program of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Kate Hudson and boyfriend Danny Fujikawa had barely stepped into the hotel entryway before photographers began snapping pictures.
During the cocktail hour inside, newlyweds Liam Hemsworth and Cyrus posed together on the pink carpet before guests adjourned to the ballroom for a dinner of smoked salmon and beef tenderloin.
Sharon Stone, Ken Jeong and Ford participated in ceremonies, while Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Sean Penn, Demi Moore, Lori Loughlin, Paris Hilton, comedian Loni Love, fashion designer Monique Lhuillier, TV personality Justin Sylvester and “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Cynthia Bailey joined a gathering that also included charity co-founders Quinn Ezralow, Marion Laurie, Kelly Chapman Meyer and Jamie Tisch; and gala co-chairs Ford, Richard Buckley, NJ Falk, Judy Glickman Lauder and Kris Levine.
“This, for so many reasons, has been called the year of the woman,” said Stone from the podium.
The Oscar-nominated actress then ticked off “C” words used today to describe women: “Competent, capable, commanding and courageous, which is a refreshing change from all the other ‘C’ words that dominated 2019 like corruption, collusion, con artist or comrade.”
She concluded with the night’s mission “about collectively tackling, defeating and eliminating the more dangerous ‘C’ words, one of them and most importantly, cancer.”
“Hangover” actor Jeong, who once had a medical career, introduced the night’s speaker, cancer researcher Peter Kuhn, calling him a great guy, “even though this doctor has never been in a ‘Hangover’ movie.”
In presenting the awards, Wilson said Union “understood early how to stand up for others” and spoke of Hudson, as having been “born with the ‘joy gene.’”
Before concluding the official program, Wilson said, “Tonight, I am reminded of the words of my late, great friend [writer-filmmaker] Nora Ephron, who said, ‘Above all, be the heroine in your life, not the victim.’ ”
Offering the last word, Cyrus spoke of a friend and creative partner who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and explained her decision to sing the Who’s “My Generation. “I’ve been saying my generation won’t take cancer for an answer,” she said. “We’re going to kick its ... ass.”