×

Leonardo DiCaprio, David Beckham, Will Smith Steal the Show at Cannes amfAR Gala

Leo and David! Leo and David! Everybody was trying to get near this year’s power duo at the Cannes amfAR gala. At around 8 p.m., at the Hotel du Cap in Antibes, the world’s biggest movie star was chatting with the famous soccer player, as bodyguards flicked away photographers. Leonardo DiCaprio looked animated, using his fingers to count down talking points, as David Beckham nodded politely.

Then it was time to go inside the dinner, held in a massive tent with a 1920s Hollywood vibe and dancing showgirls. As Beckham strode through the grass, a fan managed to sneak by him to ask for a selfie. Beckham hesitated, before reluctantly agreeing.

“David, you should charge money for that picture, man,” one of his handlers cracked. “$10,000 a shot!”

It might not have been a bad idea. This year’s amfAR celebration — which feels like the unofficial closing ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival — raised $20 million for HIV/AIDS research, as celebrities rallied onstage to encourage the rich to bid on valuable art, yacht-destined vacations, and other unique items. Beckham and DiCaprio were seated at the same table, along with Tobey Maguire. Will Smith, Dustin Hoffman, Eva Longoria, Jessica Chastain, Christoph Waltz, Adrien Brody, and Dionne Warwick were also in attendance.

“Elizabeth Taylor is the reason we’re here tonight,” said Nicole Kidman, referring to the organization’s first celebrity champion.

The dinner, which started in 1993, now generates enough star power to rival the Oscars and enough alcohol to put the Golden Globes to shame. There’s also a fashion show with a stage packed with supermodels (Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin, etc.), where 30 dresses sold to a single bidder for $3.4 million, and musical acts straight out of the Grammys.

Nicki Minaj kicked off the night by performing a set, which included backup dancers shimmying on chairs (see video below). British crooner Rita Ora debuted her new ballad, “Your Song.” Diana Ross, donning a fur jacket, belted out chestnuts like “I’m Coming Out” and “I Will Survive.” And at 1 a.m., the night closed with Joe Jonas and DNCE. It wasn’t a tame performance, as the band’s bassist, Cole Whittle, dumped a bottle of champagne over his head, spraying some of the gowns in the front row.

Between the singing and dancing, there was the bidding. Beckham took the stage to sell a private soccer match with him and his pals for $390,000. A 1958 Jaguar signed by DiCaprio went for $670,000. Smith introduced a collection of portraits by celebrity photographer George Hurrell. But to help drive up the bidding, Smith took over as auctioneer, and threw in a selfie that would include his pals Chastain, Chris Tucker, and Uma Thurman as well as a “kiss on the cheek.” Sold! For $560,000.

Here are other highlights from the night:

More Scene

  • David Crosby

    David Crosby Says New Documentary 'Remember My Name' Is Like 'Being Naked in Public’

    “It’s not easy. It’s hard being naked in public,” David Crosby, the legendary troubadour of classic rock, reflected at Tuesday night’s New York City premiere of “David Crosby: Remember My Name.” “I don’t know what to do here. There’s no guitars, no drums,” he laughed. Directed by newcomer A.J. Eaton and produced by the legendary [...]

  • The Ultimate Guide to 2019 Comic-Con

    The Ultimate Guide to 2019 Comic-Con Parties and Activations

    Hollywood is heading down the California coast to San Diego because It’s time for 2019 Comic-Con International. The annual cosplay celebration officially kicks off tomorrow, July 18, with a preview happening tonight. Here, Variety gives you a guide to this year’s parties and activations. Make sure to check back for updates. Wednesday, July 17Amazon Prime [...]

  • Sir Elton John, David Furnish. Sir

    New Elton John AIDS Foundation Gala to be Held in the South of France

    Elton John and David Furnish are launching a new gala for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The two will host the inaugural A Midsummer Party benefit on July 24 in the south of France at the Johnny Pigozzi’s private estate, Villa Dorane, in Cap d’Antibes. A cocktail reception will be followed by dinner, a live [...]

  • Dwayne Johnson Idris Elba

    Dwayne Johnson: Idris Elba Nixed 'Black James Bond' Joke in 'Hobbs & Shaw'

    In the “Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw,” the movie’s villain Brixton, played by Idris Elba, spreads his arms out wide and declares “I’m black Superman.” It turns out that might not have been the original line. Dwayne Johnson tells Variety that Elba was first asked to proclaim he’s “black James Bond,” but the [...]

  • Matteo BocelliAmerican Icon Awards Gala, Inside,

    Top Music Manager Calls Out American Icon Awards for Failing to Pay Talent

    The centuries-old adage no good deed goes unpunished is a common refrain for star music manager Scott Rodger of late. Rodger, who represents Paul McCartney and Andrea Bocelli at Maverick, says his client Matteo Bocelli, the son of the opera star, was stiffed out of promised expense reimbursement by the American Icon Awards. The event, [...]

  • Mary Bailey Steve D'Angelo, Jim Belushi

    Cannabis Industry Tackles Justice Reform With 'Last Prisoner Project'

    Jim Belushi is standing two feet away in the backyard of his spacious Brentwood home, honking a harp like he’s a Blues Brother back in sweet home Chicago accompanied by noted reggae band Rebelution’s Eric Rachmany and Kyle Ahern, who provide a 12-bar shuffle. There’s the sweet smell of skunk — and success — hanging [...]

  • Dwayne Wade holds up the legend

    Dwyane Wade, Megan Rapinoe Win Big at 2019 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Awards

    The 2019 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards was filled with incredible athletes, inspiring moments and — of course — a massive amount of slime. “I love the kids. I love the slime. I loved the games. I love seeing celebrities and athletes like become kids again. And it’s like my favorite thing,” Michael Strahan told [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content