Benefit soiree expected to raise over $5 million

Stars, studio heads and even Olympians joined forces for a good cause at the eighth annual Night Before party March 6.

Close to $6 million was raised for the Motion Picture and Television Fund.

Inside the Beverly Hills Hotel, U.S. Olympic speedskater Apolo Ohno and figure skater Evan Lysacek were surrounded by a sea of Oscar nominees including George Clooney, Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Carey Mulligan, Gabourey Sidibe, Penelope Cruz and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Also on hand was DreamWorks Animation topper and MPTF chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, who played gracious host welcoming guests such as Tom Hanks, Reese Witherspoon, Ben Stiller, Taylor Lautner and Tom Cruise. Several studio toppers could also be found mingling in the crowd including Steven Spielberg, Howard Stringer, Rupert Murdoch, Ron Meyer and Brad Grey.

As in past years, the party allowed guests a chance to celebrate Oscars weekend in a relaxed atmosphere where they could dine on food from XIV restaurant chef Michael Mina, peruse sponsor goodies such as Swarovski-crystallized HP netbooks, Zac Posen dresses for Target and beauty products from L’Oreal Paris, and do what Hollywood does best … sip champagne and schmooze.

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