With the presidential election less than two days away, several celebrities used Sunday’s Hollywood Film Awards to stump for Hillary Clinton.
The event — which host James Corden jokingly called “the last awards show before the apocalypse” — honored some of the biggest names in film, including Matthew McConaughey, Natalie Portman, Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Robert De Niro.
Despite the looming election, the mood inside the Beverly Hilton ballroom was light, not tense.
Corden opened the show with a few political jokes. “This year they brought back ‘Star Wars’ with a female lead. They rebooted ‘Ghostbusters’ with a female lead. And I pray to God they reboot the Clinton presidency with a female lead,” he quipped during the monologue.
“Bernie Sanders is here tonight,” Corden announced. “I’m joking, I’m joking. I just wanted to see the look of terror on Clint Eastwood’s face.”
Throughout the night, the A-list attendees stressed the importance of voting.
DiCaprio, who shared the Hollywood documentary award with Fisher Stevens for their eco-film “Before the Flood,” called the lack of discussion about climate change by both Clinton and Donald Trump “completely unacceptable.”
“It is an issue that has been willfully ignored and disputed for corporate profits, political capital, and short term personal gains,” the actor explained. “Even in our own presidential and vice presidential debates — our most widely viewed stages for the issues that define our future — not one question on climate change was asked. That is completely unacceptable.”
“All of us need to act … let’s all use our power as citizens and do the right thing. Please vote this Tuesday,” he added. “Vote for people who believe in the science of climate change.”
Stevens made an even clearer endorsement. “On Tuesday, let’s dump Trump,” he said to the cheering audience.
De Niro, winner of the Hollywood comedy award, started his acceptance speech with humor, but quickly got serious.
“It’s two days to a frightening election. And the shadow of politics is hanging over us whether we like it or not. And it’s hard for me to think of anything else. So let me just lay it out right here. We have the opportunity to prevent a comedy from turning into a tragedy,” the veteran actor warned. “Vote for Hillary Tuesday.”
Stars from the other end of the political spectrum stuck to their scripts.
Eastwood (who spoke at the Republican National Convention back in 2012) introduced Hollywood actor award winner Hanks without making a political statement.
Hollywood director award winner Gibson, a noted conservative, praised his “Hacksaw Ridge” cast and crew in a short speech, and avoided talking about the election.
Even Susan Sarandon, who openly endorsed Green Party candidate Jill Stein over the weekend, kept her introduction of the Hollywood actress award winner solely about its recipient, Portman.
Portman’s subtly supported Clinton in her acceptance speech. “We have obviously heard so many crazy things that have been said about women this year politically. And to women. I feel so lucky to be part of this film that is about a woman who was known first for being a wife, but then really became someone who could be recognized on their own merits,” the actress said about Jackie Kennedy, who she portrays in “Jackie.”
The awards show ended on an upbeat note, with Eddie Murphy taking home the career achievement award. The night’s other big winners were Nicole Kidman (Hollywood supporting actress award for “Lion”), Hugh Grant (Hollywood supporting actor award for “Florence Foster Jenkins”), Naomie Harris (Hollywood breakout award), and Lily Collins (new Hollywood award).
Attendees enjoyed desserts throughout the night, and sipped wine and Virginia Black whiskey, the night’s sponsor.