The big guns — and big spenders — descended on the Montage Beverly Hills Saturday night for the third-annual Sean Penn and Friends Help Haiti Home gala, presented by Giorgio Armani to benefit the J/P Haitian Relief Organization.
Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, Michael Douglas, Goldie Hawn, Chris Hemsworth and Emma Thompson were among those who helped raise about $6 million. It was the third night in a row of pre-Golden Globes celebrations, if you took Thursday’s W magazine party as the weekend’s unofficial start.
This story first appeared in the January 13, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“I used to work for UNICEF as an ambassador to Haiti,” Roberts said. “And to see the way that Sean has made this part of his life over these years…it’s a Herculean effort. To support that any time he asks is effortless.”
Penn spoke to reporters from the hotel’s kitchen while nursing a vodka tonic. “This town has been very supportive of our organization and Haiti. I’ve got a lot of gratitude and no complaints,” he said. Also by Penn’s side was Charlize Theron. Although he didn’t invoke her name, Penn credited the actress as the inspiration for the night’s highest-priced auction item: an original artwork called “Decommissioned Commission” that Jeff Koons will create using Penn’s disarmed gun collection. “It took a strong woman to get me to give those up,” he said. Anderson Cooper got into a bidding war with Piers Morgan for the item, ultimately snatching it for $1.4 million, a bargain. “I just texted my boyfriend that we bought a piece for $1.4 million and he was like, ‘What the f–k?’” Cooper said.
“We’re in the middle of what’s laughingly called ‘awards season’ but this is the first night I’m having fun,” said Thompson, who was up for a Globe for her performance in “Saving Mr. Banks.” Indeed, she was front and center when the night’s surprise performers, U2, took the stage.
Earlier on Saturday, the British invaded the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills for the Mulberry and BAFTA L.A. Tea Party. Veterans such as Cate Blanchett, Tom Hanks, Michael Fassbender and Sandra Bullock, and first-timers like filmmaker Steve McQueen, Barkhad Abdi and Brit Marling all had the weekend’s awards on their mind. Fassbender, up for a Globe for his supporting role in McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave,” was asked if he’d be sporting his beard on the red carpet on Sunday. “He might turn up,” the actor said of his facial hair. It was for a part, he clarified. McQueen, who didn’t seem fazed by his first Globe nomination — he’s already picked up his share of accolades for the heart-wrenching drama — said he didn’t have any preshow rituals.
“Nothing but putting my underpants on,” he said.
McQueen’s film is responsible for one of the breakout stars of the season, Lupita Nyong’o, who was nominated in the supporting category. She was honored that afternoon at The Mondrian’s new Herringbone restaurant by Du Jour magazine, including founder Jason Binn, and a slew of notables including Michelle Dockery, Joy Bryant, Etty Lau and Perry Farrell. No stranger to fashion these days, the Kenyan beauty was elated about landing the Miu Miu spring campaign. “To see those gorgeous clothes coming down the catwalk, and then to be asked to wear them — I didn’t even dream that dream, and it came true,” she said.
In recent months, Nyong’o has become one of the most sought-after guests on the party circuit and she was also on hand for W magazine’s party at the Chateau Marmont’s penthouse suite on Thursday night along with Jared Leto, Sofia Coppola, Kate Hudson, Amy Adams, Kirsten Dunst and Blanchett, who made a quick appearance before heading back out.
A small bedroom had been converted into a photo booth, where Nyong’o and Dockery took turns posing. “Can we take, like, 12 photos?” Nyong’o said as she vamped it up with two girlfriends. “This one’s the sexy one,” the actress said as a friend teased her, “You’re not going to get laid with that photo!”