Put together enough star power and the opportunities are endless. And on Saturday night, Sean Penn did just that with his J/P Haitian Relief Organization at the 3rd Annual Help Haiti Home Gala. The actor and activist joined forces with Giorgio Armani to host a fun fundraiser, which raised over $6 million to help rebuild Haiti. Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michael Douglas, Bette Midler, Diane Kruger, Usher, Allison Williams and Goldie Hawn shuffled into the Montage Hotel ballroom for a competitive art auction, compelling presentation, and major performances.
The night enabled anxious nominees to just enjoy themselves. Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick were beaming with pride in anticipation of their daughter Sosie’s stint as Miss Golden Globe. “She seems so relaxed it’s scary,” said Bacon. Sedwick, who initially told her daughter to practice walking in heels, is finished giving her advice. “I’m quiet at this point,” she said. Emma Thompson brought her own daughter Gaia Wise along for the festivities. Wise was especially excited to see Winona Ryder. “I adore you,” she said as she approached the petite actress. Ryder was flattered and couldn’t stop gushing about Saving Mr. Banks.
The night’s biggest surprise came when U2 took to the stage and performed as a group for the first time in four years. Rebecca Gayheart danced on her chair, while Thompson fist-pumped to the music; Penn couldn’t keep his hands off new flame Charlize Theron as the two bopped to Bono. Few could stop themselves from Instagramming the moment, except for Pamela Anderson. “I don’t have a cellphone, I don’t have a computer, and I don’t have email,” she said. “I noticed I was checking my phone a lot and I didn’t like it so now I have a landline and a fax machine.”
The bidding war that ensued was an equally exciting show. Anderson Cooper and Piers Morgan duked it out over Jeff Koon’s “decommissioned commission;” Sean Penn gave up his 67 guns to the sculptor for the piece. In a battle between two of CNN’s top paid talents, Cooper was eventually victorious and scored the work for $1.4 million. Coldplay’s Chris Martin eventually bid the same amount to secure Banksy’s “Balloon for Haiti” painting.
“I want to go to f*cking Haiti,” said Thompson, who summed up the night’s sentiments best. “I’m here for Awards Season, and tonight is the first time I’m having a good time.”