Elton John, David Furnish to host Annual Academy Awards Viewing Party

MUMBAI: The 17th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) Academy Awards Viewing Party hosted by Sir Elton John and David Furnish will be held on Sunday, 22 February, 2009, at the Pacific Design Center and will be co-sponsored by Chopard, Jo & Raffy Manoukian and Vh1.

 The event will begin at 4PM with a cocktail reception, followed by a formal dinner and viewing of the 81st Annual Academy Awards.

Over the past 16 years the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s annual Oscar-night gala has raised over $20 million for the fight against HIV/AIDS, making it the most highly visible and successful fundraising event held on Hollywood’s big night.

Last year alone, the event raised a record-breaking $5.1 million and organizers hope patrons will help them continue that success. EJAF will invest the money raised at the event in its grant-making initiatives that support prevention education programs, harm reduction, and direct services to persons living with HIV/AIDS, especially populations with special needs.

"HIV/AIDS continues to take a tremendous toll on our world. While we have seen advances in HIV treatments, we are far from wiping this horrible disease from the earth. EJAF is committed to raising funds to support important HIV prevention education and direct service programs in the Americas and the Caribbean," says EJAF director Scott Campbell. "At this year’s Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party, we know that our loyal supporters will stand up and show the world that even in today’s tough economic climate, fighting HIV/AIDS is our number one priority."

The 17th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation gala will have Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, David and Victoria Beckham, Diana Jenkins, Donatella Versace, Ed Limato, Jo and Raffy Manoukian, John Waters, Mary J. Blige, Nicole Kidman and Tom Calerone serve as co-chairs for the event.

Past guests have included Hollywood luminaries, Oscar winners and music stars such as Marion Cotillard, Kevin Spacey, Halle Berry, Ellen DeGeneres, Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart, Mary J. Blige, Larry King, Sean Penn, Jeremy Piven, Quincy Jones, Heidi Klum and Seal, Sir Paul McCartney, Denzel Washington, Dame Elizabeth Taylor, Benicio Del Toro, Sir Ben Kingsley, Sir Ian McKellen, Zoe Saldana, Sissy Spacek, Billy Joel, Chace Crawford and Sting.