Elton John AIDS Foundation party raises $4 million

MUMBAI: Sir Elton John and David Furnish hosted the 17th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) Academy Awards viewing party. The event was held on 22 February, 2009 at the Pacific Design Center and was co-sponsored by Chopard, Jo and Raffy Manoukian and Vh1. EJAF’s party to celebrate the Academy Awards was one of the night’s best attended parties and raised nearly $4 million.

The annual gala continues to be the leading fundraising event in Hollywood on Oscar night. This year’s gala brought some exciting moments including a live performance by Sir Elton John and special guest Raphael Saadiq, as well as an 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 esteemed co-chairs Victoria Beckham and John Walters in addition to Hollywood luminaries such as Sir Ben Kingsley, Claire Danes & Hugh Dancy, Gerard Butler, Ben Stiller & 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 the custom-built tent adorned in black and cream hued modern supper club decor created by Antony Todd.

As is tradition, immediately following dinner, auctioneer Jamie Niven of Sotheby’s led the evening’s live auction. Items auctioned included the opportunity to dance with Ellen DeGeneras on her Emmy Award winning talk show, which sold for $20,000; two jewel encrusted 10th Anniversary Elton John AIDS Foundation collection watches designed by Chopard went for $250,000 each; a one-hour tennis lesson by tennis champion Andy Roddick sold at auction for $31, 000; taken directly for the Academy Award stage was the Milk soap box used by Hugh Jackman in his opening homage to this year’s Best Picture nominees; and a three-day, four-night stay at the Normandy, France home of the Forbes family, Chateau de Balleroy, sold for $80,000.