Charity events are in full swing along with gala celebrations bringing together actors, artists, musicians and (of course) drag queens. Meanwhile, movies are pushing for awards consideration and hoping for some box office love from actual theatergoers. It’s a typical November in Tinseltown and beyond. Our favorite famous faces are out and about, giving back while campaigning for both box office wins and end-of-year awards love, too.
2022 LACMA Art+Film Gala
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
Gucci returned again in 2022 as the major sponsor of the LACMA Art+Film Gala, the annual fundraiser co-chaired by Leonardo DiCaprio and Eva Chow for the past 11 years. As the Los Angeles County Art Museum reminds us, this one isn’t just about rubbing shoulders and breaking bread with a gaggle of ultra-rich, ultra-famous people, it has a real effect on the arts in the City of Angels.
The gala drew so many well-known faces it was almost impossible to keep up, from Kim Kardashian and her younger sister Kendall Jenner, as well as Sean Penn, Paris Hilton, Idris Elba and the night’s honorees, artist Helen Pashgian and filmmaker Park Chan-wook.
There was a lucky contingent who rode in chauffeured Audi style, including Olivia Wilde, Sebastian Stan, Olivia Wilde, Jude Law, Janelle Monae and Sandra Oh, many bedecked in Gucci finery. Billie Ellish and her new main squeeze, Jesse Rutherford, left little doubt about their intimate relationship as they started a new totally comfortable red-carpet trend of wearing their pajamas (Gucci ones, naturally).
We’re not sure what sky-high heels made Julia Garner tower over Elliot Page, who sported a natty tuxedo, but they made a slightly odd-looking couple. And the woman that really sent a frisson through the slightly jaded crowd every step she took was artist Betye Saar, who at 96 is one of America’s most treasured artistic geniuses. It’s a great night when Betye hits the town!
2022 amfAR Gala Los Angeles
Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood
It was a rare cold night in West Hollywood, but that didn’t stop the stars from flocking to the 2002 amfAR Gala, where they continued to fight the good fight against the AIDS virus. Raising funds for AIDS research brought out some of music and movies’ favorite stars, including Andy Garica, Jenna Dewan, Jay Ellis, Michelle Rodriguez and many others.
The event honored singer Kelly Rowland for her work with amfAR. Kelly accepted the honor from her husband and son and reminded the rapt audience of the importance of AIDS research, getting personal when recalling how the virus took the life of the uncle of her Destiny’s Child bandmate Beyonce when they were younger.
“Top Gun: Maverick” star Jay Ellis hosted the gala and reminded everyone to keep the dream alive that, “One day we’ll get to that time where there’s a cure.” International singing superstar Lay Zhang has another dream in addition to eradicating AIDS from the world, that he shared with TheWrap, saying, “I would love to work with Charlie Puth!” The evening culminated with some inspired performances from Madison Beer, Aloe Blacc and Tinashe. Overall, it was a great event for an even greater cause. – Elijah Gil
16th Annual Stand Up for Heroes Benefit
David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center, New York
Every year, the Stand Up for Heroes Benefit brings joy, laughter and incredible musical performances to the world, all in the name of honoring and aiding American veterans impacted by their service to the country, as well as their families. It’s an often emotional night presented by the Bob Woodruff Foundation, the nonprofit started by the ABC News reporter (who was injured while covering the Iraq War) and his wife, Lee, that draws support from entertainers of all sorts.
This 16th iteration of the benefit held at Lincoln Center brought funnymen Jon Stewart, Hasan Minhaj and Jeff Ross to the stage, along with musicians and singers including Jewel, The Lumineers, Amber Iman and the big kahuna, Bruce Springsteen, who all did short sets to the delight of the assemblage. With the help of big draws like Springsteen, the night amassed over $4.5 million to keep the assistance to U.S. veterans in need flowing.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles “Big Night Out” Gala
Inspiration was the word of the night at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles’ “The Big Night Out” celebration honoring entertainment leaders including publicist and The Lede Company co-CEO Meredith O’Sullivan, whose engagement as a Big Sister makes her more than simply a financial supporter of the BBBSLA.
She enlisted her BFF, actor Jennifer Garner, to join her in spotlighting this longstanding organization dedicated to youth empowerment for at-risk kids through mentoring relationships. After a convivial cocktail party, the awards segment of the evening found Garner praising O’Sullivan’s dedication and saying, “This woman is the kindest and most loyal person I know, and no one deserves this more than Meredith.” She presented the Sherry Lansing Award to O’Sullivan as Lansing herself looked on.
Other award recipients included Andy Grammer, Jhoanna Alba and Troy Carter, with the most emotional speech of the night coming from BBBSLA Junior Board Co-Chair Jerome Caldwell and his “little brother” Jaylen. Jaylen recalled being bullied and related how being a part of the program really gave him a new perspective on life with Jerome as his inspiration, which struck an emotional chord with the audience – and the two were given a standing ovation.
Closing out the night, BBBSLA board member Chris Daly reminded the glittery crowd: “Big Brothers Big Sisters is such an important organization, it really can help change lives,” and encouraged those who have not mentored a boy or girl in need to consider doing so very soon.
Ebony Power 100 Awards
Milk Studios, Los Angeles
At the star-studded annual Ebony Power 100 Gala at Milk Studios in Hollywood, a crowd gathered to honor the extraordinary achievements of African Americans across numerous industries. Emmy-nominated comedian Amber Ruffin (“The Amber Ruffin Show”), who hosted the gala, told us just what the evening meant to her. “Tonight is about making sure people feel honored,” she said, “making people feel seen and giving people their flowers.”
Hollywood’s biggest names took home honors, including Oscar winner Spike Lee, Emmy-nominated actress Issa Rae and the cast of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Letitia Wright dedicated her “Wakanda” award to co-star Chadwick Boseman, who sadly passed in 2020. “We give this award up to the heavens for our brother and – of course – Wakanda Forever,” she said, holding the trophy aloft.
The evening had another emotional moment as the mothers of both Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery gave powerful speeches, bringing tears to most of the audience as they gave the two a standing ovation. The ceremony concluded with a closing remark from Ebony CEO Eden Bridgeman Sklenar as Quinta Brunson, Kandi Burress, Meagan Good, P-Valley star Nico Annan, Nia Long, Jabari Banks, Jonathan Majors and social media star Lala Milan cheered her on.
The after party was the place to be as the stars mingled and danced. TheWrap caught up with “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Garcelle Beauvais, who grinned and shouted, “It feels so good to be surrounded by such joy in one room!” – Red-carpet reporting by Elijah Gil
The Critics Choice Association’s Celebration of Asian Pacific Cinema & Television
Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel, Century City
The Critics Choice Association kicked off its award-season celebrations with a new gala event, a “Celebration of Asian Pacific Cinema & Television” held at the posh Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel. Created to “showcase both emerging and established talent,” according to CCA president Joey Berlin, the night featured an array of Hollywood’s veteran and newly emerging Asian talents, awarding trophies in numerous categories in the ballroom filled with familiar faces.
James Hong took to the stage early, accepting his Icon Award early on in the livestreamed show, and reminded the rapt crowd of some of the challenges he’s faced in his 70-plus years as a working actor in Hollywood. “I remember in the 1950s, working on TV shows and even on the set, they didn’t learn my name. They just yelled, ‘Bring on the Chinese guy,’” the 93-year-old star (who was born in Minneapolis) pointed out to a much-younger crowd that included Ke Huy Quan, his “Everything Everywhere All At Once” co-star, who presented Hong with his award.
Li Jun Li represented the young and gorgeous contingent, accepting her Breakthrough Actress for Film Award for her steady rise in Hollywood after immigrating from Shanghai to New York. She’s starring in “Babylon,” one of the most-anticipated films making an end run toward December and looks to soon be a household name. Elodie Yung, the French-Cambodian actress whose role in “The Cleaning Lady” garnered her the Breakthrough Actress for Television Award, accepted her crystal statue from producer Munika Lay with double cheek kisses, while “Oldboy” director Park Chan-wook accepted his Director Award for Film with a bit less ebullience, as he’s already won numerous awards.
Others on hand for the festivities included award winners John Cho, Frank Chi, Auli’i Cravalho, Karyn Kusama and many more Asian Pacific talents, as well as Sam Richardson, Darren Criss and Michelle Rodriguez.
The 12th Hamilton Behind the Camera Awards
Avalon Hollywood, Los Angeles
The 12th Hamilton: Behind the Camera Awards went off with a big bang of top stars at the Avalon Hollywood, as power players including Jordan Peele, Viola Davis, Kathryn Hahn, Carey Mulligan, Gina Prince-Bythewood and many more joined up to honor those talented people who work “behind the camera.” Hosted by funny lady Fortune Feimster, who had the crowd roaring throughout the night (while jokingly plugging her new Netflix special over and over). Kathryn Hahn got the jam-packed crowd in tears of laughter as she presented director Rian Johnson with his award, launching into a quirky, hilarious intro culminating in, “I can’t say enough about this jerk, I love him so much!”
The event is an annual collaboration between the Hamilton Watch Company and Los Angeles Confidential to recognize the extraordinary individuals who contribute to the success of a feature film behind the camera. The party also brought out Laura Dern, Paul Dano, Aimee Carrero, Jaimie Alexander, Florian Zeller, Frankie Faison, Jay Ellis and Monica Barbaro, as well as many of the creative teams behind films like “Nope,” “The Woman King,” “Till,” “The Fabelmans” and more. Fun fact: All of the honorees were able to pick out their own custom Hamilton watches as a top-tier parting swag prize. – Red-carpet reporting by Elijah Gil
AMC Century City, Century City
It was a family friendly night at the Westfield Mall in Century City at the premiere for the new Netflix film “Slumberland,” as guests gathered around the red carpet for a night of fun and magic. There was a little something for everyone at this event: Parents who brought their kids to the premiere were greeted with drink options and sliders while the children were entertained with a “build your own slime” and a “magical candy vending machine” to keep them entertained.
The crowd mingled happily until star Jason Momoa arrived, following the new red-carpet fashion of arriving dressed in his pajamas (see the Netflix flick to understand why). In a quick conversation with TheWrap, Jason describes his character’s constant search for a pearl to make a wish. His own wish? “Find the match for my friend Travis who is trying to beat leukemia.”
Jason added that he’s spoken with his new DC Universe boss James Gunn about the next steps for the Warner Bros. comic franchises. “Of course I have, we are now connected,” he told us.
“Slumberland” director Francis Lawrence also shared his thoughts. “To make something that felt so hopeful in a time that is difficult was really nice,” he mused. Lawrence, who just wrapped on the upcoming “Hunger Games” prequel “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” described that experience to us. “It’s very unique and tonally it feels very different, but it also shares some of the same touch points of the other movies,” he revealed. “I think fans are going to be really excited about it!” – Red-carpet reporting by Elijah Gil
Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York
In the first wave of Christmas-themed movies to arrive on the scene, Apple Original Films’ “Spirited” may just be the biggest one by far, with the off-the-charts combo of Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell. They’ll give us yet another retelling of the Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol,” this time told from the point of view of the ghosts, with musical numbers thrown in. Octavia Spencer co-stars in this new holiday feature, which had its world premiere at Lincoln Center in New York a bit early for the season to go into full swing.
Animation Is Film Festival
Samuel Goldwyn Theater, Beverly Hills
Everyone at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at the Academy of Arts and Sciences agreed that “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” was the ideal place to celebrate the closing of the Animation Is Film Festival, especially after the gorgeous stop-motion picture unspooled. The audience quietly watched every frame of the credits and then erupted into screams and cheers as the crowd jumped up to give the auteur his due with a standing ovation.
Del Toro reveled in the moment, then explained to the audience, “What we tried to do is to tackle things that hurt. That doesn’t mean the movie does not have the largest beating heart possible, and it was a loving heart. For me, this movie is a huge hug to the world. Because we need it. We need love. We need empathy, we need to see each other. But in the world there is pain. And when we make stories, we’ve got to account for that pain as well.”
He definitely felt the love as he and Oscar winner and SFX genius Phil Tippett spent nearly another hour chatting on stage. And despite the fact that there was no official after-party reception in the lobby of the Academy, del Toro lingered with a large group to continue talking about the thing that everyone at the Animation Is Film Festival agreed on – that animation can be as real and moving as any live-action movie.
2022 AFI Fest Film Festival
TCL Chinese Theatre, Hollywood
Selena Gomez kicked off the 2022 AFI Fest Film Festival at the TCL Chinese Theatre with “My Mind & Me,” the opening night world premiere of the new documentary following the pop star’s life over the past six years. Selena stunned in a silk purple cocktail dress and opened up to TheWrap about the creation of the film.
“It was a happy accident; I truly didn’t know I was going to share this much, but I hope when it comes to mental health it inspires a lot of people,” she said. The crowd marveled at the pop singer’s ability to overcome the pressures and downfalls that fame can bring, and throughout the screening there were sniffles at the behind-the-scenes look at the media’s attempt to diminish the former Disney star.
Gomez also premiered her brand-new song that played during the end credits, with the telling lyrics, “My mind and me, we don’t get along sometimes.” These lyrics had fans talking after the film with one attendee remarking, “Wow, I had no idea she went through all this! I have a new found love for Selena Gomez.” The song was a strong choice to end the film and the documentary was the perfect way to kick off AFI Fest 2022.
A roster of other awards contenders unspooled at the AFI Fest this year, including “Living,” “She Said,” “The Son” and the hottest ticket of all, the closing night celebration of Steven Spielberg’s very personal semiautobiographical drama “The Fabelmans.” So personal, in fact, that the iconic director brought his younger sisters Sue, Anne and Nancy to join him on the red carpet, as it is their story, too.
Academy Award-winning actress Michelle Williams, who plays matriarch Mitzi Fabelman in the film, told TheWrap, “It was such a beautiful thing to be asked to do, to play somebody’s most beloved figure in their childhood, it was a really beautiful gift to be given.”
Paul Dano plays the family’s father, Burt Fabelman, and described the pressure to live up to the Oscar-winning director’s expectations. “There were times where it was a heavy cloak to bear,” he admitted. The film had the audience kvelling. “This is one of the most inspirational films I have seen in years,” one said.
See Michelle Williams describe her joy in her role here. – Red-carpet reporting by Elijah Gil
Wolk Morais Cashmere Fireside Dinner Launch Event
Olivetta Restaurant, West Hollywood
Hollywood’s fashion tastemakers came out in force to attend the Wolk Morias Cashmere Fireside Dinner in order to be the first to see Brian Wolk and Claude Morais’ elegant winter-coat creation up close and personal. Held at Olivetta Restaurant in WeHo, the intimate party boasted some of the world’s most famous dressers to the stars, including stylists who create the looks for an incredible variety of actors and singers.
Look one way, there was Elizabeth Stewart, whose clients include Cate Blanchett, Julia Roberts, Viola Davis and Jessica Chastain. Look nearby and there was Cristina Erlich (who could be Stewart’s sister), who creates the looks for Jane Fonda, Natasha Lyonne and a host of others. Taylor Swift’s style expert Joseph Cassell made the scene, too, as did B. Akerlund, who gives advice to both Lady Gaga and Madonna.
Everyone sipped Hendrick’s Gin cocktails throughout the meal, as Brian Wolk explained the idea behind the limited-edition cashmere coat that the designers are selling solely at Peri.A in Beverly Hills (and Aspen). “We call them ‘robe coats,’ and we created for both women and men, with a thought of Old Hollywood style,” he told us. “And doing them in so many colors makes it easy for anyone to find the perfect cashmere coat that they can wear forever.”
Netflix Celebrates “Wednesday” with “WednesGay”
Los Globos, Silver Lake
If you’re a gay man working in media and entertainment, you may well have been on the guest list for WednesGay, Netflix’s exclusive drag celebration of its upcoming “The Addams Family” spinoff with Tim Burton, “Wednesday.”
It was shoulder-to-shoulder at Silver Lake’s Los Globos as gothed-up guests dressed to the nines and enjoyed an open bar, beats by New York City DJ Oscar Nn and a drag revue from some of the most prominent “RuPaul’s Drag Race” vets in the game: Violet Chachki, Gottmik, Crystal Methyd and Mo Heart.
“Wednesday Addams was, like, a f—-ing goth icon in my life. Truly, growing up I was an ‘Addams Family’ diva, so being here and performing for you guys, you spooky f—ots in this room? I’m living!” Gottmik, a fan-favorite finalist from Season 13 of “Drag Race,” said while riling up the crowd. “It’s Wednes-GAY, honey, tonoight!”
Gottmik, who lip-synced to a pop-metal mashup that included excerpts from “The Exorcist” and Kim Petras’ “Massacre,” was the third queen on the night’s set list. Preceding her was Season 12 finalist Crystal Methyd opening the night and Mo Heart of Season 12 and “Drag Race: All Stars” Season 4. The latter performed Christina Aguilera’s “Haunted Heart” from the animated “The Addams Family” 2018 soundtrack. Headlining was Season 7 winner Violet Chachki, who broke out her signature burlesque act – spider-shaped nipple pasties and all – to “Bitter:Sweet” by Dirty Laundry.
On the mic as ringleader of the spooky circus was that “Bros” featured player and multi-hyphenate entertainer extraordinaire Ts Madison, who encouraged the crowd to keep the drinks and tips coming. Other notable guests making the scene were Hunter Doohan, Johnna Dias-Watson, Jennie Garth and “Glee” star Chris Colfer.
Following a breakneck dance competition between two attendees, the clock inched toward midnight as the cheek-to-cheek mingling continued on the dance floor. Hardly a body left the club without taking a photo at Wednesday Addams’ Moira Rose-inspired wig wall, where the black, braided pigtail wigs were given out for keeps. – Benjamin Lindsay
Belynda Henry: To Paint Is to Love Art Exhibit Opening
Gruin Gallery, West Hollywood
Belynda Henry, one of Australia’s best-known and award-winning landscape artists, brought her works to the Gruin Gallery in West Hollywood for “To Paint Is to Love,” an exhibition/sale that lasts until mid-December. Opening night brought out a wide range of art (and Oz) lovers, including Aussie mate Natasha Bassett, whose turn in Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” caught big buzz this year, and German hunk Thomas Kretschmann. Fellow Aussies like producer and CEO of Hello Sunshine Sarah Harden also checked out Henry’s work, along with Oscar-winning cinematographer Dion Beebe and his wife, director Unjoo Moon. Word is that Christian Louboutin is scooping up all of Henry’s work to adorn the walls of his new hotel in Portugal, so get thee to the gallery to beat him out of one of her popular watercolors before they are all spoken for.
Please send event invitations to Jenny Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org.