Acronym mix-ups and stumbles over teleprompter intros were the comic relief of Tuesday’s Hollywood Foreign Press Association luncheon, where a host of bold-faced names from film and TV gathered to accept grants for various arts-related philanthropic organizations.
“If anything’s been made clear to me today, it’s definitely the fact that I don’t think a single actor in Hollywood can read,” Jonah Hill joked while accepting a grant for four Los Angeles film organizations, including American Cinematheque and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Hill – who was one of the few who didn’t stumble over his speech – saved the day after a slew of screw ups from the likes of Dermot Mulroney and Piper Perabo, Olivia Wilde, Julie Delpy, and Demian Bichir – who mispronounced the word Chicano while introducing a grant for various L.A. educational institutions. “How can you screw that up?” the event’s emcee Eva Longoria ribbed. “It’s Chicano Studies! You’re Mexican!”
But it was all in good fun. Longoria was quick to point out that at this event – unlike the famously bacchanalian bash the organization puts on in January each year, the Golden Globes – “Nobody’s drunk, there are typos in the teleprompter!”
Slurred words aside, the event brought together stars from all walks of Hollywood, from Vince Vaughn to Liam Hemsworth to 1950s star Marcia Hunt, at the Beverly Hilton to celebrate some of their favorite causes.
Nicole Kidman, in a sleek teal Narciso Rodriguez dress, kicked off the lunch by accepting a $350,000 grant for Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation, which digitally restores classic films. “The Wizard of Oz inspired me to become an actor. But I didn’t want to be Dorothy; I wanted to play the Wicked Witch,” she recalled.
Vin Diesel told a heartfelt memory of his first encounter with Robert Redford at Sundance in 1997, while accepting a grant for the Sundance Institute. “That moment at Sundance was the first time I was acknowledged as an artist,” he said. “I went from a bouncer job in New York to being presented as a filmmaker. It was as sense of validation I’d never felt before.”
Longoria, the day’s host, meanwhile, told EW what the luncheon means to her on the red carpet before the event. “This is my favorite participation in the Hollywood Foreign Press,” she said. “We always think of the Hollywood Foreign Press as Golden Globes and red carpet and glamour, and I’m very philanthropic in my life, so to pair with them on a day like today to dole out the funds that they’ve raised throughout the year to these amazing causes is a really big honor for me and I respect the fact that the Hollywood Foreign Press uses the power of the pen to raise awareness and raise funds for all of these worthy causes and that’s a big responsibility that everybody should take seriously.”
The HFPA doled out $1.6 million in grants and scholarships this year and in total has distributed over $18 million, providing over 900 scholarship and restoring 82 classic films. The 71st annual Golden Globes are scheduled for January 12, 2014.