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On Sunday night, the  22nd Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscar party was held, and attracted a who’s who of showbiz.

 

Those in attendance included Britney Spears; Lady Gaga; Donatella Versace; John Waters; Jane Fonda; Ozzy, Sharon and Kelly Osbourne; Kim Kardashian and sisters Khloe and Kourtney; Whoopi Goldberg; Sheryl Crow; Taylor Swift; Josh Groban; Ann and Nancy Wilson; Jane Seymour; and Robert De Niro.

Guests dined on a lavish five-course dinner from a menu created by Gordon Ramsay and participated in a silent auction for which the premiums included a piano signed by Elton and Bernie Taupin (which EJAF‘s founder performed on that evening); a print of Elton and John Lennon taken in 1974 and autographed by the photographer, Bob Gruen; five days at Steven Tyler’s home in Hawaii; and both tickets to and a backstage tour of the upcoming Broadway musical Hedwig & the Angry Inch, starring Neil Patrick Harris.

5.1 million dollars was raised for the singer’s charity.

This was facilitated by the evening’s new audience participation feature, which enabled attendees to make gifts to the foundation on the spot using their cell phones.   Throughout the evening video messages from long-time EJAF supporters Ellen DeGeneres and Anderson Cooper, as well as live messages from the likes of Heidi Klum and Eric McCormack encouraged guests to text in pledges in support of the organisation’s urgent mission.

“This is the kind of generosity that will help us change the course of this epidemic,” said Elton.  “We begin to end AIDS when we get homeless teens off the streets and into shelters and job training and healthcare.  We begin to end AIDS when we offer addicts a clean needle and a helping hand into drug rehabilitation.  We begin to end AIDS when we help HIV-positive ex-prisoners find housing and jobs and a way to stay on their medications.  We begin to end AIDS when we make sure EVERY person living with HIV has a ride to the doctor and access to healthcare and treatment.”

Elton, who joined Ed Sheeran for Candle in The Wind,  also told the crowd: “Look at the thousands of people you’ve helped tonight. The film that just won, 12 Years a Slave, was about liberating people from an awful life of slavery. And what we’re trying to do is to liberate people from the stigma and the disease of AIDS, and your generosity tonight has been amazing and hopefully, it will continue to be amazing.”