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The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization of Los Angeles-based journalists for international media outlets that is best known for putting on the annual Golden Globe Awards, gave away $3.8 million in scholarships and grants to 74 entertainment-related nonprofits at its annual grants banquet Wednesday night at the Beverly Wilshire.
As always, the gathering drew big-name Golden Globe hopefuls happy to curry favor with voters by helping to hand out donations. This year? Terminator: Dark Fate‘s Arnold Schwarzenegger hosted, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood‘s precocious child star Julia Butters introduced a duet by Ben Platt of The Politician and Beanie Feldstein of Booksmart and The Lion King‘s Jon Favreau, Judy‘s Renee Zellweger and Rocketman‘s Taron Egerton were among the many presenters.
Italian journalist Lorenzo Soria, who earlier this month was re-elected HFPA president after being out of office for two years, was the first of several to take barbs at President Donald Trump, who has been no friend to Hollywood, foreigners or the press. “In addition to being journalists, most of us are immigrants,” Soria said of the HFPA’s members, adding to cheers, “and not going back!”
Schwarzenegger, upon being introduced by Soria, joked, “I am really pissed off at Lorenzo because I thought that foreign-born citizens cannot become president!” Soria interjected, “I cannot be Mr. Universe,” to which Schwarzenneger replied, “You have the body!” Schwarzenegger added that he was hosting because Soria had recently cornered him: “He said, ‘You must love free speech?’ I said, ‘Yes, I love free speech.’ He said, ‘Good, you’re going to give one on July 31.'”
Schwarzenegger, who won a Golden Globe for best acting debut in 1977, pointed out that the HFPA had given him “nothing since then” — however, he cracked to gales of laughter, “Lorenzo said doing this could be the gateway to the Cecil B. DeMille [Award, the HFPA’s career achievement honor]!”
Jokes aside, Schwarzenegger emphasized his status as a foreigner: “We have all been told by President Trump to go back home. But we didn’t! We stay here. We live here. We make a difference here. And we make sure America stays great,” he said to thunderous applause.
Little Fires Everywhere star and producer Kerry Washington presented the first grant to PEN America’s PEN in the Community Journalism Workshops, which aim to improve news literacy and bring to life the importance of press freedoms in underserved Los Angeles schools.
Rocketman stars Egerton and Jamie Bell announced grants for Help Refugees and Film Aid International. Bell recalled spending his childhood in Billingham, England, “sharing in the collective memory of going to the movies dreaming of something new. Imagine living in a refugee camp trying to escape the violence of your world. Film Aid International is committed to using the power of film to give the most vulnerable communities a message of hope and inspiration.”
JoJo Rabbit helmer Taika Waititi unveiled the HFPA’s grant to AFI’s directing workshop for women, as “9 percent of directors are women and less than 30 percent of major roles go to women.” As the father of two daughters “who might want to follow in dad’s footsteps,” Waititi noted that “the statistics don’t look too good.” The Thor vet called out an audience member who got up from her seat as he mentioned AFI’s state-of-the-art equipment: “Where are you going? This just gets better. Nope, you’re just gonna keep going. We can wait.”
But the show kept going. Always Be My Maybe‘s Ali Wong and Ramy‘s Ramy Youssef honored A Place Called Home for providing a safe environment for art, education and wellness in South Central L.A. to over 11,000 residents, as well as The Moth’s new open mic slam programs fostering storytelling.
Favreau, whose version of The Lion King has grossed $1 billion in less than three weeks, bestowed grants to organizations like Martin Scorsese‘s Film Foundation to preserve and safeguard cinema’s rich history. Over 120 films have been restored by HFPA grants including Ben-Hur, King Kong, How Green Was My Valley and The Red Shoes. Favreau also noted a $225,000 donation to Institute Lumiere to restore 300 one-minute films shot betwen 1893 and 1905 by the Lumiere brothers.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold‘s Eva Longoria and This Is Us star Justin Hartley introduced grants to Las Fotos Project, the first photography-themed workforce development program for female high school students between 15 and 18, and to the Lollipop Theater Network, which brings movies still in theaters to hospitalized children nationwide.
Soria gave Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 10-year-old star Butters quite an introduction, commending how she stole every scene she was in: “She’s the girl who made Leonardo DiCaprio cry.” Butters, in turn, introduced Feldstein and Platt, who said they have been best friends since meeting at a 2005 bat mitzvah.
The stars of Broadway’s Hello, Dolly! and Dear Evan Hansen, respectively, spoke about their love for Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand — “I spent a lot of my childhood dressed as Dorothy,” Platt shared, while Feldstein said her mom made “a Fanny Brice costume for my third birthday” — before treating the audience to a rendition of Garland and Streisand’s only duet, “Happy Days Are Here Again.”
Best friends @BeanieFeldstein and @BenSPLATT singing the only song Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland ever performed together — Happy Days Are Here Again. Tonight at the #HFPA Grants Dinner. Next out to present? Renee Zellweger, who is playing Judy herself in Judy this fall. @THR pic.twitter.com/Olmw5M1agK
— Tara Bitran (@tarabitran) August 1, 2019
Appropriately enough, they were followed by Zellweger, whose portrayal of Garland in the upcoming biopic Judy is highly anticipated, and who extolled the HFPA’s commitment to education while announcing grants to institutions such as CalArts, Cal State Northridge and UCLA.
Sacha Baron Cohen announced Entertaining America, a collaboration between the HFPA and the Smithsonian and American History museums to celebrate film as an agent of change. “I must say, it’s very exciting to see a collection of dinosaurs coming together with a bunch of museums,” he deadpanned, adding that treasures featured in the exhibition will include “footage of Melania Trump smiling” and the “rowing boat sat in by Lori Loughlin’s daughter.” When one attendee kept chuckling, the comedian pushed the college admission scandal punchline further: “You seem to be laughing too hard, sir. How did your son get into Harvard?”
Mickey and the Bear‘s Camila Morrone and Ford v. Ferrari’s Josh Lucas presided over the HFPA’s grants supporting the Sundance, Toronto and Venice film festivals, while Regina Hall, presenting with Rob Lowe, went off-script. “As a young girl, I would lie in bed and pray that Rob Lowe would be on top of me,” Hall said to a barrel of cheers. “Prayers are answered, which is why we are here tonight.”
The two presented grants to The Film Collaborative and LA Conservancy, the latter of which will help restore the historic movie palaces in downtown L.A. built between 1910 and 1931 and show screenings of six classic films at the rehabiliated theaters in the Broadway Theater district. But as Lowe started to speak, Hall stood directly behind him, prompting Lowe to say: “I’ve been Me Too’d…and I like it.” (The joke didn’t necessarily land.)
Former Miss Golden Globes Corrine Foxx (daughter of Jamie) and Sistine Stallone (daughter of Sylvester) gave grants to organizations, including Kids in the Spotlight, that provide young people between the ages of 11 and 17 living in foster homes with a platform to tell their stories.
The evening’s final presenter, James Corden, could not resist expressing his disappointment in the dessert. “Do you have any idea how bad it’s got to be for me not to eat it?,” he said before pledging to fund next year’s final course.
The Late Late Show host presented $20,000 to Get Lit — as in, literary — quipping, “I’ve become more white and older every time I say it. Know why? Because I’m on fleek. You don’t know what that means, nor do I.” The grant will procure equipment, supplies and a stipend for Literary Riot, the first content production studio created and run by filmmakers ages 13-23 who have previously trained as poets or filmmakers.
Schwarzenegger closed the night by returning to the subject of Trump. “Lorenzo said he loves me because I speak three languages — German, English and even a little Yiddish,” he said. “I learned a new word when Trump became president: schmuck!”
Over the last 25 years, the HFPA has committed $37.5 million in grants and fellowships. The HFPA’s Charitable Trust was established to provide financial support for educational and cultural non-profit organizations whose primary focus is the entertainment industry.
A full list of the grants and scholarships follows:
HIGHER EDUCATION: FELLOWSHIPS & INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT
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