Leonardo DiCaprio Leads LACMA Art Fundraiser

Star-studded gala raised a record $4.1 million


Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s third annual Art + Film Gala on Nov. 2 drew a stellar black tie crowd of film industry heavies and society/industry luminaries from both coasts, garnering over $4 million in much-needed funds for LACMA’s coffers. With the major current project an ambitious film museum to be housed at the Wilshire Blvd. arts complex in partnership with the Motion Picture Academy, the message presented by one of the two honorees of the evening, artist David Hockney, resonated.

“I’m a worker. I’m not a hedonist. I approve of hedonists, but artists are workers,” said Hockney in the Lucy Walker-directed doc that preceded the English contempo master’s speech.

Next up on the dais was the night’s film honoree, Martin Scorsese, introduced by the event’s co-chair (with Eva Chow), an as-always dapper Leonardo DiCaprio, dressed up by the gala key sponsor, Gucci.

Celebrating his pet cause of film preservation, Scorsese noted the presence of French filmmaker Agnes Varda, the recent beneficiary of restoration and preservation of four films she made in Southern California decades ago. He also summed up the essence of the film museum’s mandate by quoting the French critic Andre Bazin who asked, “What is cinema?” and answered “Cinema is necessary.” Bringing the whole theme closer to home, after a rousing reel of dynamic Scorsese film clips, Scorsese noted that LACMA was part of his creative process as “it was a great education to watch movies at LACMA back in the ‘70s.”

Given the powerhouse guest list of A-List stars and titans of business, Manhattan event doyenne Peggy Siegal told Variety the event would be her “worst nightmare” had she been in charge of the seating plan. “The battle would be figuring out how to juggle the seating of serious art patrons with magnificent eye candy.”

PHOTOS: Stars at the LACMA Art + Film Gala

A full guest list would make the point powerfully, but just by eyeballing the room you could tally showbiz figures including CAA’s Bryan Lourd, Paramount’s Sumner Redstone and Brad Grey, Disney’s Bob Iger, Terry Semel, Bob Daly, the Academy’s new prexy Cheryl Boone Isaacs, 42 West’s Leslee Dart, Bob Shaye, Irwin Winkler and Jerry Bruckheimer.

Local philanthropy luminaries such as Wallis Annenberg and Barbara Davis sat side by side with an impressive range of showbiz stars from legends to top-current thesps and music acts including Tom Hanks, Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda, John C. Reilly, Fergie and Josh Duhamel, Mary J. Blige, Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla FIsher, “Fifty Shades of Grey” thesp Dakota Johnson and beau Jordan Masterson,  Jimmy Kimmel, Camilla Belle, Robert Downey Jr., Henry Winkler, and Bob Newhart.

The evening opened with a sprightly music set from Dhani Harrison and closed with a rousing round of singalong hits by Sting.

One of the stars enjoying the dazzling display of Los Angeles cognoscenti, Will Ferrell, took a moment to muse on the aesthetic preferences of his alter-ego, Ron Burgundy. “Ron’s apartment in San Diego has lots of seascapes and he loves those Keane paintings of children with big eyes. All on velvet, of course.”

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