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Oscars: Why Elton John Will Have a Police Escort to His Viewing Party

Elton John will be at the Oscars on Sunday because he is nominated with longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from “Rocketman.”

Even so, that doesn’t mean he’s going to miss his annual viewing and afterparty benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

“As soon as the category has been presented, we have a police escort to zoom from the Dolby Theater to get here as quickly as possible,” John’s husband and “Rocketman” producer David Furnish told Variety on Thursday at the site of the party in West Hollywood Park. “Hopefully we get here before the actual Oscar broadcast ends. This is where we need to be.”

While John and Furnish are at the Oscars, the stars of “Queer Eye” will serve as hosts of the 28th annual soiree.

“What I really respect about ‘Queer Eye’ as a program is they go into the heart of middle America where the perception is is that we’re really far apart and they try to get us to a point where we’re much much closer together than we truly realize,” Furnish said.

He praised the five men as “uniters, not dividers.”

“’Queer Eye’ is perfect too because the epidemic is still a gay epidemic,” said Elton John AIDS Foundation chief executive officer Anne Aslett. “We do a lot of work down in the south and when you think that one in two gay black men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime — in America? — and 700 men died of AIDS in Georgia last year, you’re like, how is this possible? How will we fix it all over the world if we can’t fix it right here?”

More than 900 guests will attend the event. The menu will be designed by chef Wayne Elias and Crumble Catering. A live auction will feature photos by Irving Penn, Terry O’Neill and Melvin Sokolsky, among other items. Dave Karger and Aisha Tyler will host IMDb’s live streaming show from the party. John has chosen British pop star Sam Fender to perform.

“I think it’s a really great night out,” Furnish said. “People I know who have been to the Oscars and who have been to our dinner say, ‘Oh, my god, it’s so much more fun.’ It’s a great atmosphere in the room. There are not many nights you get to go out and check a lot of the boxes — you could really enjoy the biggest awards show on the planet, dress up, eat great food and support a charity that does great work.”

And hopefully, Furnish said, John will arrive to the party with his second Oscar in his hand.

“I was there when he won the Oscar for ‘Lion King’ in 1995 and the party was at the Four Seasons,’ he recalled. “When he walked into the room with his own Oscar, it was pretty special. It was magical. We’d love to repeat that if we can, but I don’t want to jinx it.”

“Queer Eye’s” Bobby Berk was on hand at the preview as well. He told Variety that there are no plans for him and his co-stars to sing with John at the party, but if they have to his top pick would be “Candle In the Wind.”

For details on all the Oscar events happening in Los Angeles this week, check out Variety‘s Ultimate Party Guide.

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