The 25th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party hosted by Sir Elton John and David Furnish raised a record-breaking $7 millionfor the global effort to end AIDS. The gala, which took place on Sunday, February 26, at West Hollywood Park in Los Angeles, was generously sponsored by BVLGARI, Neuro Drinks and Diana Jenkins.
Guests arrived at the Academy Awards Viewing Party for cocktails followed by a gala dinner and viewing of the 89th Academy Awards telecast. For a fifth consecutive year, Chef Gordon Ramsay, British celebrity chef, television personality, restaurateur, and holder of 14 Michelin stars, prepared an exquisite five-course meal for guests. Moët Hennessy provided champagne, wines were provided by Domaine Bertaud Belieu, and spirits were provided by Chopin Vodka and Clase Azul Tequila.
During the evening, Elton and David introduced Open Road and Survival Pictures’ new film – The Promise – which tells the story of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey at the outset of World War I. Written by Terry George and Robin Swicord and directed by Terry George (Hotel Rwanda), The Promise stars Oscar Issac, Christian Bale, and Charlotte Le Bon.
In addition to sharing EJAF’s vision for championing human rights, The Promise team at Survival Pictures has taken the unprecedented step of making the commitment to donate all proceeds from the film to nonprofit humanitarian organizations including EJAF. As part of this commitment, Survival Pictures matched the pledges guests made to EJAF via text and live auction purchases during the event to help make EJAF’s 25th annual Academy Awards Viewing Party a record-setting evening.
The dinner was followed by a lively auction conducted by Alexander Gilkes of Paddle8, which featured a Barrie Wentzell fine art print Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Hampstead Heath, 1970; BVLGARI Diva’s Dream Necklace in white gold with pavé diamonds; Lalique and Damien Hirst Eternal Love, Eternal Beauty, and Eternal Hope limited edition crystal panels; Norman Seeff fine art prints Carly Simon, Los Angeles, 1974, and Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, New York, “Robert and Patti II,” 1969; a RETNA painting Close Lipped, 2016; a five-day vacation at Steven Tyler’s Hawaiian retreat; and two tickets to the Vanity Fair Oscar Party.
Following the auction, St. Paul & the Broken Bones took the stage for an exciting performance of their hit songs, including “I’ll Be Your Woman” with Sir Elton John.
Audi, BBVA Compass, TheBLUEFISH, M∙A∙C Viva Glam, and StyleHaul partnered with EJAF as the evening’s Co-Sponsors; the Foundation for Global Sports Development, Fin Gray and Michael Melnick, Ron Burkle, and Bob and Tamar Manoukian were Associate Sponsors. The Foundation is especially grateful to the City of West Hollywood for continued collaboration with EJAF on shared goals. American Airlines is EJAF’s official airline.
In his remarks, EJAF Founder Sir Elton John thanked his guests for enthusiastically participating in an audience participation feature, which enabled guests to make gifts to the Foundation on the spot using their cell phones. Throughout the evening, live messages from EJAF friends Laverne Cox, Sharon Stone, Jeffrey Tambor, Amy Landecker, Gaby Hoffmann, Judith Light, and Jay Duplass encouraged guests to text in pledges to support the Foundation’s urgent mission. The first 40 guests who donated $5,000 or more received a Christopher Makoslimited edition print Andy American Flag, 1969.
“As we look back on our efforts over the past 25 years to prevent HIV infections, help people living with the disease, and speak up for their rights, we have a lot to be proud of and a lot of valuable experiences to inform our work going forward,” said Elton. “This party and our work have always been about love, inclusion, fairness, and good health for everyone. We believe these remedies can cure anything – most especially AIDS.”