For those that chose not to attend the 84th Academy Awards last weekend, the next best place to watch them was at Elton John's AIDS Foundation viewing party and gala. The event, celebrating 20 years of mixing the Oscars with fundraising for the devastating disease, featured a celebrity-packed attendance list; including Steven Tyler, Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, Miley Cyrus, Kelly Osbourne, and more.
"Twenty years, 20 years since this disease came to the attention of people in this country," Elton said at the event. "We have the tools for a cure, but the enemies of a cure are bigotry, stigma and greed."
Guests enjoyed a five-course meal prepared by "Iron Chef" Cat Cora, as well as a lively (and expensive) auction that featured some intense bidding. From the release:
Auction items included a tennis lesson with 10 time Grand Slam Champion Rafael Nadal that sold for $190,000 twice; an in-home cooking class for up to ten people with Chef Cat Cora which sold for $100,000 to Steve Tisch, owner of the NFL champion New York Giants; the opportunity to join Elton John and David Furnish at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party that sold for $230,000 and a surprise auction lot - a bite from "Vampire Diaries" stars Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerholder, set visit to the show and lunch with Elton John and David Furnish went for $80,000.
All told, the evening ended up raising a staggering $5.25M for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Later this year, the 64-year-old will add to that amount by release a charity memoir, titled "Love is the Cure", to give readers a personal account of what drives him to defeat this killer.
“This is a disease that must be cured not by a miraculous vaccine, but by changing hearts and minds, and through a collective effort to break down social barriers and to build bridges of compassion," Sir Elton wrote in a statement. "Why are we not doing more? This is a question I have thought deeply about, and wish to answer — and to help change — by writing this book.”
"Love is the Cure" is slated for release later in July.