The pre-show conversation at the Beverly Wilshire Wednesday night centered around awards season, the Golden Globes and the upcoming fall festivals. But all of those topics soon yielded the floor to philanthropy, as the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. handed out $2.8 million to 55 nonprofit entertainment-related organizations and scholarship programs.
The event was the HFPA’s annual Instillation & Grants Dinner, in which the donations are announced and the org formally presents its new HFPA officers.
Host Chelsea Handler kept things moving at a brisk pace. She vowed that she would be bipartisan in her jokes, but added, “We are here to celebrate three things Donald Trump hates the most: foreigners, the press, and donating money to charity.”
Presenters included Ava DuVernay, Robert Pattinson, Chadwick Boseman, Patrick Stewart, Stan Lee, Bob Odenkirk, Dustin Hoffman, Mark Hamill, Kathryn Hahn, Kumail Nanjiani, Alison Brie, Chrissy Metz, Elisabeth Moss, Anthony Mackie, Matt Bomer, Armie Hammer, Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, and Aja Naomi King.
The evening followed the format of past years, in which the celebs — many of them awards hopefuls this year — came out singly or in pairs to announce the organizations being honored, and to introduce film clips. Banter and onstage chatter, however, were kept to a minimum.
Newly elected HFPA president Meher Tatna introduced the new slate of officers. She also gave a shout-out to longtime members of the organization and saluted 23-year veteran Chantal Dinnage, who got a standing ovation after the announcement that she will retire after January’s Golden Globes.
Tatna also spoke of the organization’s special relationship with the International Rescue Committee, which had received a $500,000 donation in May at Cannes. The HFPA also donated $200,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Keala Settle, the ex-Broadway star of “Waitress,” raised the roof with her performance of “The Greatest Love of All.” Settle will appear in Fox’s Christmas release, “The Greatest Showman” with Hugh Jackman.
The HFPA officers were announced June 8. They also include Anke Hofmann, vice president; Ali Sar, treasurer; and Janet Nepales, executive secretary. Members of the board of directors are Lorenzo Soria, Luca Celada, Helen Hoehne, Yoram Kahana and Ruben Nepales, with Kirpi Ballesteros as the alternate.
For more than 25 years, the HFPA has committed nearly $30 million in grants, provided more than 1,500 scholarships and helped restore over 90 films. The mission of the HFPA’s Charitable Trust is to foster education, diversity and creative expression in art and film through a variety of programs and special grants.