Would you pay €1.5 million ($1.94 million) to spend a weekend at Oscar parties? Or €1.8 million to fly to the moon on Virgin Galactic with Leonardo DiCaprio? Someone did — and more. That happened at amFAR’s annual Cinema Against AIDS Cannes Film Festival gala’s very special 20th anniversary Thursday night. Co-hosts Weinstein and Kenneth Cole announced to a roomful of very high rollers that the event, held of the Hotel Du Cap, raised €25 million ($32.3 million), smashing last year’s record total of over €10 million. The ultra-high style party is a two decades long staple of the Cannes festival, and Weinstein told me if it just made a dollar more than the previous year they’d be happy. But these multimillionaires and billionaires obviously came to play this year and really stepped up at the auction that featured numerous stars including jury members Nicole Kidman and Christoph Waltz, along with Jessica Chastain, Jeremy Renner, Rosario Dawson, Heidi Klum, Goldie Hawn, Janet Jackson, Adrien Brody and major fundraiser/auctioneer Sharon Stone.
Neil Meron and Craig Zadan weren’t kidding around with this year’s movie music Oscars theme. (Even the comedic bits were song-and-dance vehicles for Seth MacFarlane). Musical numbers from this year’s nominees ran the gamut from Les Miserables‘ full-cast staging to Norah Jones crooning “Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from Ted, and Adele’s performance of her Oscar-winning Skyfall theme. Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson returned to sing her signature song from Dreamgirls, making Catherine Zeta-Jones’ “All That Jazz” Chicago number pale in comparison. And grand dames Shirley Bassey and Barbra Streisand fought through the show’s spotty sound mixing to deliver signature tunes.
Shirley Bassey sings her 007 theme “Goldfinger”:
Catherine Zeta-Jones performs “All That Jazz” from Chicago:
Would a tribute to the James Bond franchise’s 50th anniversary be complete without the woman who sang the theme song to Goldfinger? Shirley Bassey will make her first-ever appearance on the Oscars on February 24, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. They also said that composer-arranger William Ross will conduct the orchestra, marking the third time he has done so for the Academy Awards. Here’s the release on Bassey:
“We are thrilled to welcome the legendary Dame Shirley Bassey to our Oscar show,” said Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. “Her association with film music is world renowned and we are proud that she will be making her first Oscar appearance on our telecast.
Bassey is this year celebrating her very own “Diamond Jubilee” with a career spanning over six decades. She has recorded over 44 albums, sold over 135 million records and has sold out concert halls across the world. In June 2012, she was one of a number of esteemed artists, including Elton John, Paul McCartney and Annie Lennox, who performed at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert. In the United States, Bassey is best known for recording the theme songs for the James Bond films “Goldfinger,” “Diamonds Are Forever” and “Moonraker.”