There were no wheelchairs, walkers, or frankly, people with white hair or wrinkles. But last night the Motion Picture Home for the Aged received yet another fundraiser that allowed really rich and famous people to pick up freebies galore at a gala Hollywood dinner.
There’s nothing like seeing stars queue up for Macintosh Air laptops, special edition Converse sneakers, and L’Oreal cosmetics as if they’ve never seen such things or can’t afford to buy them. But Jeffrey Katzenberg’s “The Night Before Party” transformed the Beverly Hills Hotel main floor banquet room into a shopping mall with boutiques sponsored by all those vendors — and more.
Stars like Harrison Ford, Calista Flockhart, Steven Spielberg, Sharon Stone, George Clooney, Will and Jada Smith, and Cameron Diaz also received $50 gift certificates to McDonalds and $150 Flip cameras — the new hot video upload device from Pure Digital — as well as black Target gym bags, and all kinds of creams and lotions to keep them looking young and fit.
Others we spotted from our BHH perch included Jason Bateman, Sean Combs, Billy Baldwin, Christina Applegate, Val Kilmer, Cheryl Tiegs, Courteney Cox, The Rock, and director Michael Bay.
But that was just a fraction of the well heeled gang that got to pick among Converse’s special edition red, black or white tennis shoes. Once the guests gave their sizes, the requested shoes were handed to them in a Target gym bag also filled with miscellaneous cosmetics and other items including Hewlett Packard electronic picture frames.
It’s a relief, frankly, to see these celebrities, who have no resources to shop unfettered, get some much needed gifts.
Unfortunately for them, however, the A-list gang had to cross through the lobby of the hotel to get their cars because of the persistent driving rain. In years past, the Night Before guests were able to sneak out a back door.
Meanwhile, in the Polo Lounge, producer Brian Grazer and financial backer Steve Bing arrived from the party around 10:30 p.m. and took the prized first booth on the right that seats 12.
According to sources in the restaurant they’d held the booth for themselves starting at 4:30 p.m. — some six hours earlier — just in case they wanted it.
Ironically, they were gone by 11 p.m.
There was no sign of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie by the late hours, and that’s no surprise since Angie is considerably pregnant. Yes, we’ve heard about this ad nauseum, and the couple’s never an announcement, but at yesterday afternoon’s Film Independent Spirit Awards, it was extremely evident.
Angelina either has a huge baby bump or she’s swallowed Dakota Fanning!
I mean, she tried to cover it by holding her arm over her stomach with a black shawl. But the jig is up, the cat is out of the bag, and other clichés are being sought.
• Click here for photos.
The only question now is, which country will she have the babies (it looks like twins, no kidding) birthed in.
A couple of years ago, Jolie imported her Beverly Hills ob/gyns to poor Namibia on the west coast of southern Africa. Journalists were banned and lost their jobs, chaos reigned supreme. So you can only imagine how other Third World countries are now revving up for the opportunity to host this event.
Unfortunately Malawi is already taken by Madonna, Gucci, and the Kabbalah Center. But Mozambique could use the help, as could Kenya.
Elsewhere, East Timor -- which just had an assassination attempt on its leaders and is about to be the subject of a new film — might consider the couple’s presence a welcome diversion.
Jolie and Pitt came to the Spirit Awards because Angie was nominated for “The Mighty Heart.”
I’ll say this: they are the most unfailingly polite superstar couple ever to make public appearances. Jolie certainly knew she would not win Best Actress, but came anyway to support the film which just got unjustifiable short shrift when it was released last May.
Still, she and Brad shake hands and take pictures with everyone who asks. There’s none of the arrogance of other mega stars. It’s refreshing.
At the same, everyone’s still trying to figure out what happened to Jada Pinkett Smith. She took her seat at the Spirit Awards with a small posse, looking sensational in a hot satin mini skirt. But once Rainn Wilson finished his monologue, she and her group exited, never to return again.
The Spirits gave awards to “Juno,” director Julian Schnabel, actors Ellen Page, Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Chiwetel Ejiofor (he’s the great actor from “Talk to Me.”)
“The Savages” was voted Best Screenplay, and “Juno” got Best First Screenplay. There were a lot of bawdy jokes and several instances of the F word, because the show is “cutting edge.” I don’t know what the IFC Channel did about all that on the live broadcast.
There were also the usual parody songs about the nominated films, with David Alan Greer and Steve Zahn, respectively, stealing the show with their performances. Funny stuff.
A little more tomorrow from the Spirits…
Film Editor Will Not Attend Oscars
Update: Roderick Jaynes, who’s edited all the Coen Brothers’ films, will not attend the show tonight. If he wins for editing “No Country for Old Men,” the presenter will announce that Jaynes “is too old to travel, the Academy accepts on his behalf.” You’d think after such a stellar career Jaynes would want to go to the Oscars! But you know, he’s there already. Jaynes is the pseudonym for the Coens, who edit their pictures themselves… Miramax’s swanky party at Soho House on the roof of Luckman Plaza last night brought out Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz with a group of pals from Spain who came to support Javier. The whole group is going to the Oscars. Then they return to Madrid. Javier and Penelope are a delightful couple, and well matched. Bueno!... Also at Miramax: Casey Affleck, the Coens , and a surprise appearance by Sir Elton John. He told me he’s rehearsed the song “Harmony” for his show tonight as a favor to this column. In return, I’ve promised him a major effort by FOX 411 readers to donate money to his AIDS Foundation. Tomorrow, I will give you the link. P.S., the artist known as Prince is scheduled to play at Elton’s show tonight…See Saturday’s column for more on Elton’s party plans, and Madonna’s rival ribaldry…
…my old pal, the acerbically funny Joan Rivers, is featured on AOL Entertainment tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., doing the fashion wrap up on the Oscars. You know she’s right about everything, so don’t miss it!