February 23, 2009

Elton John Oscar party raises almost $4M

The 17th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation party celebrating the Academy Awards in Los Angeles raised nearly $4 million, the foundation said Monday.

The pop star and his partner David Furnish were the hosts of the high-profile Oscar viewing party Sunday night at the Pacific Design Center. The event was co-sponsored by Chopard, Jo and Raffy Manoukian and Vh1.

This year's gala featured a live performance by John and special guest Raphael Saadiq, as well as a emotional first-hand account by Kerrel McKay who spoke about her experiences as an HIV/AIDS activist in her home country of Jamaica. McKay also spoke about a public service campaign orchestrated by the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS, supported by the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

This year's guests included the event's co-chairs Victoria Beckham and John Walters, as well as Ben Kingsley, Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy, Gerard Butler, Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor, Quincy Jones, Keifer Sutherland, Whoopi Goldberg, Sharon Stone, Eva Longoria Parker, Kate Beckinsale, Carrie Underwood, Natasha Bedingfield, Chace Crawford, Olivia Wilde, Rosanna Arquette, Josh Groban, Elle Macpherson, Gordon Ramsey, Eric McCormack, Tim Allen, Rashida Jones, Molly Sims, Russell Simmons, Dita Von Teese, Zac Posen, Natasha Henstridge, Terrell Owens, Chris O'Donnell, Paz Vega, Chris Noth, Taye Diggs and Ricki Lake.

Guests arrived for cocktails, followed by dinner and viewing of the 81st annual Academy Awards in a custom-built tent decorated like a supper club.

A live auction followed the dinner.