Jokes punctuate H’wood foreign press’ annual donations eventBy Ruben V. Nepales
Philippine Daily Inquirer
LOS ANGELES—Funny one-liners were dished even as serious money was being given out at Thursday’s officers installation and grants luncheon of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Steven Spielberg came to accept a $250,000 check on behalf of The Film Foundation, which will go to the restoration of Federico Fellini’s 1954 classic, “La Strada.” The master filmmaker cited the nonprofit association of international journalists behind the Golden Globe Awards for its contribution to film preservation efforts and acknowledged its total donation of $3.6 million over the past 16 years.
HFPA’s money for its philanthropic efforts is drawn from the license fee it gets from NBC to air the Golden Globe Awards held every January.
With Steven in the house, several stars addressed him with quips as they accepted grants worth over $1.2 million on behalf of nonprofit organizations, film schools and entertainment-related charities.
The audience in the Rodeo Ballroom laughed as Jack Black joked that he couldn’t wait to see Steven’s “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”
Steven’s “Lincoln” movie is a totally different project, with Daniel Day-Lewis not quite an ax-wielding, vampire-hunting 16th president of the United States.
Speaking after Steven, Jennifer Lawrence—who accepted a grant on behalf of Sundance Institute—said: “I just had to follow Steven Spielberg.” Directly addressing Steven, the actress added: “Or you opened for me, actually.”
Dustin Hoffman, who accepted checks on behalf of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LA Conservancy and the UC Berkeley Pacific Film Archive, jested: “I’m here to get nominated.”
The actor, who announced that he just turned 75, still looked boyish.
That age revelation prompted the silver-bearded Kelsey Grammer to say, “Dustin’s 75 and he looks great. I am 57 and I look like hell!”
We almost failed to recognize Don Johnson, his long hair tied into a bun. Don, who represented American Cinematheque, described his “Django Unchained” costar Kerry Washington, who accepted a grant on behalf of FilmAid International, as “delicious.” The actress looked fetching, indeed, in a short pink dress.
Bradley Cooper, who at one point was listening to a chat between Harvey Weinstein and Steven, received grants on behalf of schools, including several California State University campuses, American Film Institute, Los Angeles City College, UCLA, NYU, Columbia University and CalArts.
Other stars, including Christina Hendricks and Carla Gugino, accepted grants on behalf of schools and organizations such as Inner-City Arts, Inner City Filmmakers, Ghetto Film School, Outfest and Latin American Cinematica of Los Angeles.
Red carpet remark
Speaking on the red carpet, Jennifer Sanderson and Steve Tao of the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment expressed their gratitude to the HFPA for its support of the New Writers Awards which discovers and nurtures talents for film and TV.
One of the first-time grantees was Visual Communications (VC), which holds the very successful Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. VC’s Shinae Yoon and Abraham Ferrer thanked the HFPA for its grant supporting professional training and mentoring via the annual C3: Project Market.
E-mail the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/nepalesruben.
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