Inside HFPA Grants Banquet: Philanthropy, Trump Jokes and a Ben Platt-Beanie Feldstein Duet

Though the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual grants banquet was held at the same time as CNN’s second night of Democratic presidential debates, politically minded guests got their fix there in the ballroom of the Beverly Wilshire hotel when Arnold Schwarzenegger took several jabs at President Donald Trump.

Schwarzenegger kicked things off by recalling how HFPA journalists recently asked him to comment on the commander in chief. The “Terminator” star declined because, in his words, “I have nothing nice to say about the guy.”

The former California governor and “Celebrity Apprentice” host also denounced the idea that it’s possible to be a “self-made man,” (something that Trump has oft claimed to be) when one takes into account all the people it takes to becoming Mr. Universe or running a successful political campaign.

“You can call me anything you want, but don’t ever call me a ‘self-made man,’ he said.”

While praising the HFPA for its philanthropic efforts, Schwarzenegger took Trump to task for his anti-immigration policies. “All of these kinds of things [are] to give something back to make this country great and keep this country great.” the actor said. “We all have been told by President Trump to go back home, but we didn’t. We stayed here, we live here, we work here, we contribute here, we make a difference here and we make sure that America stays great.”

Meher Tatna, Dana Walden, Lorenzo Soria and Jennifer SalkeHollywood Foreign Press Association Annual Grants Banquet, Cocktails, Los Angeles, USA - 31 Jul 2019
CREDIT: Rob Latour/Variety/Shutterstock

Schwarzenegger wasn’t the only celebrity with Trump on the brain. Presenters shared their thoughts with Variety on this week’s Democratic debate and the 2020 election.

“I’m actually staying out of the noise right now of the primaries. It’s just too many people, it’s too cluttered. It’s just about sound bites at this point, so I’m waiting for somebody to rise up,” Eva Longoria told Variety’s Marc Malkin on the red carpet. “I love all of [the prospects]. I’ve been a Kamala Harris fan for a long time. I’ve been a Cory Booker fan for a long time. I love me some Joe Biden….and let me tell ya, any of these candidates would be better than our current situation.”

Of the possibility of voting out Trump out of office, Longoria said, “That’s the hope — voting for a leader that represents the values of the United States in a way that has compassion and understands humanity.”

Before presenting with “Mickey and the Bear” star Camila Morrone and Josh Lucas threw his weight behind one politician. “Look, I definitely think Elizabeth Warren’s brilliant. I really do.” he said, citing the senator’s “serious political knowledge and ideas.” “The people I know who have met her think that woman is truly brilliant.”

James Corden and Julia ButtersHollywood Foreign Press Association Annual Grants Banquet, Cocktails, Los Angeles, USA - 31 Jul 2019
CREDIT: Rob Latour/Variety/Shutterstock

During the program, Sacha Baron Cohen (who told Variety that Trump should be credited for his Emmy nomination for Baron Cohen’s Showtime series “Who Is America”) brought up Melania Trump. While announcing a partnership between the Smithsonian’s and the HFPA, the comedian noted that the exhibit will feature treasures “many of which have not been seen in public for decades, including Eddie Van Halen’s guitar, Archie Bunker’s chair and some footage of Melania Trump smiling.”

But the Trumps weren’t the comedian’s only target. He also made a crack about Hollywood ties to the college admissions scandal, saying that the HFPA’s Smithsonian exhibit would include the “the rowing boat sat in by Lori Loughlin’s daughter.”

Also bringing the laughs were presenters Regina Hall (who teased her co-presenter Rob Lowe about her massive crush on him growing up, saying she “used to lie in bed and pray to God for [Lowe] to be on top of her”), Taika Waititi (who turned his own troubles reading the Teleprompter into an impromptu stand-up set), and James Corden, who wrapped up the ceremony by offering to pay for next year’s dessert budget because he wasn’t thrilled by last night’s lemon Panna cotta.

The night also featured “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s” young breakout star Julia Butters introducing a musical performance by Ben Platt and Beanie Feldstein, who put their own spin on Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand’s iconic 1963 duet of “Get Happy/Happy Days Are Here Again.”

Overall — aided by “Rocketman” stars Taron Egerton and Jamie Bell, Kerry Washington, Ali Wong, Ramy Youssef, Corinne Fox, Sistine Stallone, Renée Zellweger, Jon Favreau, and Justin Hartley —  the HFPA presented $3.8 million to 74 total entertainment-related nonprofit organizations, scholarship programs, film restoration and humanitarian groups. Read the full list of recipients below.

Hollywood Foreign Press Association 2019 Grant Recipients:


  • California Institute for the Arts (CalArts) – $60,000
  • Cal State Dominguez Hills – $40,000
  • Cal State Fullerton – $60,000
  • Cal State Long Beach – $60,000
  • Cal State Los Angeles – $60,000
  • Cal State Northridge – $60,000
  • Los Angeles City College – $25,000
  • Mt. San Antonio College Foundation – $30,000
  • Santa Monica College – $30,000
  • Southwestern Law School – $50,000
  • University of California, Los Angeles – $125,000


  • American Film Institute – $20,000
  • CalArts – $12,500
  • Cal State Dominguez Hills – $5000
  • Cal State Fullerton – $5000
  • Cal State Long Beach – $5000
  • Cal State Los Angeles – $5300
  • Loyola Marymount – $20,000
  • Mt. San Antonio College Foundation – $5000
  • Santa Monica College – $5000
  • UCLA – $20,000


  • American Film Institute – $40,000
  • Australians in Film – $10,000
  • City Year Los Angeles – $10,000
  • Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment – $20,000
  • Exceptional Minds – $25,000
  • Film Independent, Project: Involve – $60,000
  • Film Independent, Venice/TIFF Residency – $121,000
  • Independent Filmmaker Project (Brooklyn) – $20,000
  • International Documentary Association – $10,000
  • Motion Picture & Television Fund – $15,000
  • New Filmmakers Los Angeles – $41,000
  • SAG-AFTRA Foundation – $10,000
  • Streetlights – $20,000
  • Sundance Institute – $225,000
  • Veterans in Film & Television – $30,000
  • Women in Film – $20,000
  • Women Make Movies (NYC) – $10,000


  • California State Summer School Arts Foundation – $25,000
  • Echo Park Film Center – $10,000
  • Get Lit – Words Ignite – $20,000
  • Ghetto Film School – $30,000
  • GlobalGirl Media – $10,000
  • Inner-City Arts (Downtown LA) – $30,000
  • Inner City Filmmakers (Santa Monica) – $40,000
  • Kids in the Spotlight – $10,000
  • USC Arts & Engineering Magnet – $25,000
  • Los Angeles County High School for the Arts – $25,000
  • Outfest / Los Angeles LGBT Center – $10,000
  • POPS the Club – $10,000
  • Sharewell (Zimmer Children’s Museum) – $10,000
  • The Music Center – $5,000


  • Film Noir – $90,000
  • IndieCollect – $77,900
  • Outfest (UCLA LGBT project) – $35,000
  • The Film Foundation – $350,000


  • American Cinematheque – $45,000
  • American Documentary Association (POV) – $30,000
  • Cal State Northridge – $12,000
  • Film Independent/Film  Series – $305,000
  • FilmAid International – $100,000
  • Hollywood Heritage Museum – $10,000
  • LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes Foundation – $10,000
  • Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles – $15,000
  • Library Foundation of Los Angeles – $40,000
  • Los Angeles Conservancy, Last Remaining Seats – $35,000
  • Museum of the Moving Image – $10,000
  • San Francisco Silent Film Festival – $10,000
  • University of California, Berkeley Film Archive – $20,000
  • University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana (Ebertfest) – $10,000


  • Committee to Protect Journalists – $100,000
  • Dag Hammarskjold Fund for Journalists – $20,000
  • International Documentary Association – $25,000


  • Children’s Hospital – $35,000
  • Ensemble Studio Theatre – $10,000
  • Gingold Theatre Group/Shaw Festival – $20,000
  • Lollipop Theater Network – $20,000
  • Pablove Foundation – $20,000
  • The Actor’s Gang – $10,000
  • The Moth – $105,000
  • Young Musicians Foundation – $10,000
  • Young Storytellers Foundation  – $10,000


  • A Place Called Home – $25,000
  • Institut Lumiere – $225,000
  • Las Fotos, Hire Her – $10,000
  • National Museum of American History (Smithsonian) – $150,000; $1 million over 7 years
  • KPCC/California Public Radio – $20,000
  • PEN America – $40,000
  • The Film Collaborative – $25,000

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