Singers Sting and Elvis Costello were the headliners last night at Miramax's annual Max Awards show at the St. Regis Hotel here in Los Angeles.
The Max Awards are named for the father of Harvey and Bob Weinstein, Miramax's founders, and Max Minghella, son of Cold Mountain director Anthony.
The musical numbers were preceded by some funny zingers by Harvey Weinstein regarding the controversial-and jarringly inaccurate-book about Miramax and also the Sundance Film Festival by film journalist Peter Biskind.
Gabriel Yared, Oscar-nominated composer for the score to "Cold Mountain, also played the movie's haunting theme. And Miramax's fifteen Oscar nominees each received chocolate Oscars as a reward for their efforts.
But it was Sting, Elvis Costello, and Alison Krause who stole the show and put on a good one for the many faces in the audience including Quentin Tarantino, Trudie Styler, Diana Krall, Peter Dinklage, Tom McCarthy, Bobby Cannavale (all three from The Station Agent), Blue Car director Karen Moncrieff, City of God director Fernando Merielles, "Once Upon A Time In Mexico" director Robert Rodriguez, actors Jude Law and Renee Zellweger, Scarlett Johanssen, Jennifer Beals, and many, many more.
After performing with the Sacred Harp Singers, Costello also dedicated his first ever hit, Alison, to Krause. Sting reciprocated by playing his first hit, "Roxanne."
At the same time, Styler told me she's added Bette Midler to her long list of performers at the April 21st Rainforest Foundation concert at Carnegie Hall. Styler is still searching for movie stars who are capable of belting a Broadway tune. If you know one, give us a call and we'll pass on the name. And don't say Hugh Jackman! Even though he wanted to do it, the Rainforest show is on a Wednesday night, which means Hugh will be on stage across town in "The Boy from Oz."
The hottest party of the night? How about the big shindig at the home of New Line Cinema's Bob Shaye. This mansion on the hill has a huge lawn which a huge circus tent was erected over a six-day period. Then furniture and rugs were brought in to decorate the big top, and the rest is history.
I would say it was the house that "Lord of the Rings" built, but really it's more likely a benefit of the original AOL-Time Warner merger a couple of years ago. Nevertheless, the beautiful home, full of staggeringly real art and views of the City of Angels, was able to accommodate several hundred guests last night who came to celebrate hobbits and hermits (think Harvey Pekar, subject of "American Splendor.")
Dining on food cooked by Wolfgang Puck (who was there, wearing his stained toque) was quite an assemblage of this town's bold-faced names. The list begins with "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson and three of the series' stars: Liv Tyler (who brought dad Steven, of Aerosmith fame, and husband Royston Langdon), John Rhys-Davies, and Sean Astin. You could go all the way from that worthy group to the completely ridiculous: Paris Hilton, who on Friday had managed to be the first adult porno queen to appear on a "family" sitcom on ABC's TGIF (George Lopez Show). And there was no ten-minute delay!
From there, you name it, starting with two James Bonds under the same tent: Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan. There was Hollywood royalty, like Shirley MacLaine, Omar Sharif, Michelle Phillips, and Michael York, plus two members of the original Godfather cast, Robert Duvall and James Caan.
And then, just a stupefying gang of famous faces everywhere you turned: Penny Marshall, Julianne Moore, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Bob Newhart, Monty Python's Eric Idle, Brendan Fraser, Peter Gallagher, John Waters, photographer Peter Beard, "Star Caps" diva Nikki Haskell, "Elf" star Will Farrell and director Jon Favreau, Michael "Kramer" Richards, Chad Lowe and Academy Award-winning wife Hilary Swank, Geena Davis, Rebecca De Mornay, Harvey Keitel, Sela Ward, Cheech Marin, writer/director Mike Binder, Robert Englund, and "American Splendor" stars Paul Giamatti and Hope Davis.
Shaye (and partner Michael Lynne) didn't leave out the new generation of actors, though. I ran into TV's Amber Tamblyn (from "Joan of Arcadia"), Jason Ritter (son of the late John), "Angel" star David Boreanz, and our pal Troy Garity, who steals "Barbershop 2," and is on the cusp of breaking out big time from his roles in "Bandits" and "Soldier's Girl" (he was nominated for a Golden Globe and a Spirit Award).
The New Liners had their share of corporate titans, too, starting Time Warner chief Richard Parsons, as well as Ted Turner, Sir Howard Stringer, Les Moonves, and HBO Films' Colin Callender.
There were other parties around town last night, too, including the second annual DreamWorks event for the Motion Picture Home (needy stars got lots of swag including fancy sneakers — what a relief it must have been for Sylvester Stallone, who hasn't had a hit in years) and Focus Features' closed-to-the-press fete to forget their contribution to "The Hulk." (I wonder how that sequel is coming?) But it was a night for Miramax and New Line on the eve of Frodo and Sam's ascent to Oscar history!