If you weren’t at the Governor’s Ball or with Sir Elton on Oscar night, the ballroom at the Beverly Hilton was the place to be. That’s where Academy watchers turned out for the ninth annual Awards Celebration to benefit Children Uniting Nations. Locals Jane Seymour and James Keach are among the organization’s goodwill ambassadors, as is Malibu pal Pierce Brosnan. Martin Landau and Cisco Adler were among the couture-clad revelers who joined the glittery gang for a splashy black tie dinner, Oscar viewing party, awards presentation and after-party.
The evening’s hard working host Daphna Ziman looked fresh as a summer breeze in her dazzling sea foam chiffon gown. Joan Van Ark dressed for drama in shades of chocolate and caramel while rapper-turned-actor Ice-T kept things cool in black on black. “Dancing with the Stars” hopefuls Steve Guttenberg and Marlee Matlin waltzed down the red carpet saying they’re ready for their big debut, which takes place March 17.
After braving a barrage of flashbulbs, guests sipped champagne and plunked down their bids on Swarovski crystal wallets, vintage wines and edgy artwork. Soon it was show time and we settled into our seats to watch Hollywood on its night of nights.
The ballroom looked like a sleek New York nightclub done up in elegant champagne colors with massive floral pompoms in hot pink, cherry red and crimson. Musician Jon Anderson of the famed ’70s rock band Yes cheered with delight when pals Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova picked up the prize for best song. Their “Falling Slowly” beat out blockbuster tunes from “Enchanted” and “August Rush.” There was also big applause for the Coen brothers who won big for their gritty modern thriller “No Country for Old Men.”
But this evening was not just about Tinseltown, it was also about kids. The event raised half a million dollars for Children Uniting Nations, which is geared toward at-risk youths in foster care. CUN provides mentoring, inspiration and education to those who need it most. Emcee Christine Devine hailed the evening’s host for championing the cause, saying, “She is the biggest advocate for kids in foster care that I know. We are making a difference thanks to Daphna.”
Between commercial breaks, Daphna took time to thank friends of the organization. Rapper Ice T, Lt. General Romeo Dallaire and pro ballplayer Nnamdi Asomugha were among this year’s honorees. “Tonight we celebrate dreams and there are children who are afraid to dream,” Daphna said. “It is our responsibility to reach out to these children and help them live lives that are hopeful and free of pain. Everyone here is a hero and this is just a wonderful gift to give.”
After tucking into a feast of crab ravioli, filet mignon as well as your very own chocolate Oscar, guests grooved to an all star musical lineup featuring Tiffany, DMX, DMC, Sarah Kelly and Jil Aigrot. While A-listers everywhere celebrated their victories in style, the biggest winners at this bash were the kids and, for CUN, that’s as good as gold.