This year, Emmy weekend was an endurance test of parties and preening. But there were no heavy sighs about having to attend Sunday’s Evening Before bash, which raked in more than $2 million for the Motion Picture Television Fund.
The Emmy eve fundraiser has become a welcome tradition for the biz’s top movers and shakers. For those fortunate enough to make the scene at the Lawn at Century Park, the Evening Before is the last call before the Main Event, the last chance to toast the nominees in the moment when everyone still has a shot at winning.
As always, the festive environment is enhanced by sponsored installation booths offering partygoers a chance to play games and score major swag — two favorite Hollywood pastimes. But it’s the people watching that is the main attraction at Evening Before.
The “Breaking Bad” gang enjoyed a mini reunion as Aaron Paul and Vince Gilligan exchanged hugs while Bob Odenkirk, Bryan Cranston and others huddled with them.
The “Mad Men” mob took over a big corner of the smoking section (no surprise). “Downton Abbey’s” Michelle Dockery was invited into the Sterling Cooper lair where she had a long chat with Matthew Weiner over multiple cigarettes. Christina Hendricks looked chic in a suit and upswept ‘do.
Jon Hamm, sporting a tamer beard than he has in years past at this time of year, had a receiving line of well-wishers that included “The Daily Show’s” Aasif Mandvi, who was very animated as he told Hamm a yarn that yielded more than a few laughs.
Actors from “Modern Family,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Veep” fanned out all over the party space. “Community” star Joel McHale was hard to miss, as always. Mindy Kaling sported a bright smile.
Greg Berlanti and his crew took up a few sectionals in the center seating area. Chuck Lorre planted himself in one spot for a long stretch, taking a break from his labors on four (yes four) comedies that are all up and running now.
Undoubtedly a few greenlights and penalty-commitments were solidified on the carpeted platform erected on the lawn. There were too many execs, producers and talent reps gathered in close quarters for business to not get done. Execs and talent reps were out in force, including a big contingent from Emmy host NBCUniversal: Bonnie Hammer, Bob Greenblatt, Jennifer Salke and Ted Harbert, among others.
Industryites with ties to the Napa Valley were asked if all was well in the vineyards and wineries after a sizable earthquake rocked the North California town early Sunday. Amblin TV’s Darryl Frank, son of former TV Academy prexy Rich Frank, calmed concerns about the possibility of a vino drought in reporting that the Frank family winery came through just fine.
MPTF champion Jeffrey Katzenberg was once again the unofficial concierge, touring the starry crowd to press the flesh and make sure all was well among the donors who dug deep to support a most worthy cause.
(Pictured: Olivier Martinez, Halle Berry and Jeffrey Katzenberg at MPTF’s Evening Before Party)