“It was like experiencing a heart attack,” said Hidden Figures’ Aldis Hodge of Oscar night’s Best Picture mishap. In case you missed it from under that rock: Moonlight was the winner, not La La Land, as first announced by presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.
Though we're all familiar with the snafu by now, unlike most of us, Hodge actually had a seat inside the 89th Academy Awards and had witnessed the event in person.
“I’m sitting there with Jim Parsons, all we hear is Moonlight, Moonlight, and we’re like, ‘What’?” said the actor. “I think it’s really unfortunate. I’m proud of Moonlight, I’m happy they won, at the same time though, I don’t think that anybody on the La La [Land] team deserves to feel that moment of deliberation and that loss.”
The rest of the night was “fantastic,” however, continued Hodge. It was his first time at the award show, and he found himself starstruck: “Jim and I, we were just kind of in our own world, because we’re sitting there, there’s literally, I mean, Viola [Davis], Denzel [Washington], Meryl Streep, Halle Berry, The Rock [Dwayne Johnson], Salma Hayek. Literally, they’re all like—I could touch them.”
Hodge was now walking the white carpet at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscar bash, celebrating its 25th anniversary.
“A silver anniversary,” said Sir Elton John. “David and I haven’t gotten to our silver anniversary quite yet...”
The event started in 1993, inside Beverly Hills’ defunct Maple Drive, when the late Patrick Lippert, political activist and leader of the Rock the Vote campaign, joined forces with EJAF to raise money for HIV/AIDS. With 140 or so people crammed inside the small restaurant, they raised $300,000 that night. 25 years later, the Oscar viewing party, dinner and live auction is a must-attend post-Oscar soirée, attracting a who’s who of pop stars and movie stars.
“Raising money is what we’re here to do,” said John. “Obviously, we all want everyone to have a good time, blah blah blah, but the reason we do this is to raise money. It’s not about people with Oscars coming in. It’s about people feeling part of our organization and donating to us knowing that we’re a trustworthy foundation, and giving everyone a good time, but at the end of the day, the money is really important.”
Their message and purpose is for those who are marginalized to receive love, support and access to testing and treatment, added Furnish.
Lottie Moss, Hedi Slimane, Toni Collette, Sharon Stone, Laverne Cox, Lea Michele, Tracee Ellis Ross, Quincy Jones, Adam Lambert, Andie Macdowell, Caitlyn Jenner, Diana Jenkins, Heidi Klum, Katharine McPhee, Ruby Rose, Vanessa Hudgens, Yvonne Orji, Zachary Quinto, menu curator Gordon Ramsay, Sting, who had just performed at the Oscars, and Ciara were some of the faces inside.
“How’s the bump?” asked a passerby, as the pregnant singer made her way inside.
“The bump is bumpin’,” she grinned.
In years past, party performers have included Ryan Adams, John Mayer, Ed Sheeran, Florence and the Machine, and John Legend. This year, it was a lesser known name, St. Paul and The Broken Bone, a six-person band from Birmingham, Alabama.
“I’ve known them, I’ve met them, I love them...I’m so happy they’re here tonight, because they kick ass,” said John.
Also at the party, sponsored by Bvlgari, Neuro Drinks and Diana Jenkins, was the cast of Transparent, including Judith Light, Gaby Hoffmann and Jeffrey Tambor.
“Hi gorgeous,” said Petra Němcová air-kissing Alessandra Ambrosio. The two posed for photos, as Tambor was trying to walk past. He stopped—not to get in the way–and bowed down playfully.
“Get in the middle!” yelled photographers.
“This’ll go well at home,” joked the actor, as he got between the two giggling models.
Fellow model Adriana Lima soon made her way down the carpet, sharing her excitement for her first Oscar weekend. She has her sights on breaking into acting, she not.
“I’m still modeling, for sure, and hopefully in the future, I will be an actress—yes, with this accent and everything,” she added with a laugh. “Why not!” Watch out, Emma Stone.
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