Hollywood’s new and established elite mingled under the night sky as Weezer serenaded The Hollywood Reporter’s class of 35 under 35 and the annual issue’s most esteemed alumni, all of whom gathered for a 20th anniversary star-studded celebration in Los Angeles.
In a gorgeous space at UCLA’s Hammer Museum sponsored by Samsung Galaxy, MR PORTER.com, Delta Air Lines, Ketel One and Amazon Studios, the new class of Hollywood’s most powerful young executives toasted their achievements with champagne — and not a little bit of awe.
“It’s very surreal to be here,” said AMC’s Ben Davis, a 2013 Next Gen honoree for his work as the cable network’s vp scripted programming. “If you see me leaving with bags of magazines later, they’re for my parents back home in New Jersey. They are very proud.”
Davis’ pinch-me moment reminded illustrious Next Gen alumni — many of whom were in attendance, including Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly, CAA managing partner and managing director Kevin Huvane, film producer Michael De Luca (Fifty Shades of Grey) and Universal Television executive vp Bela Bajaria — of their own stint as Next Gen-ers.
“It really was a public validation that your work was being noticed,” said Bajaria as Weezer’s frontman Rivers Cuomo took the stage at 9:15 p.m. to perform a set of the band’s most popular tunes. “It definitely feels like a very exclusive club!”
Next Gen alumni like Bajaria weren’t the only industry elite on hand for the celebration. Next Gen talent honorees — actresses Taylor Schilling and Bella Thorne — joined Alyssa Milano, Community star Gillian Jacobs, Parenthood and About a Boy showrunner Jason Katims and DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg in the celebration.
“I feel lucky, the stars aligned,” said Schilling of her breakout lead role in Netflix’s critically acclaimed dramedy, Orange Is the New Black. “To have such a great experience creatively and to have it be something people want to see feels like a dream.”
They were joined by various 2013-14 awards contenders, including The Butler screenwriter Danny Strong; star of Captain Phillips Barkhad Abdi and Enough Said writer-director Nicole Holofcener, who also partied alongside the evening’s exec and talent honorees.
Said first-time actor Abdi of his recent foray in the limelight — a sentiment that all Next Gen-ers present would echo: “It feels great. Just an amazing ride.”
Guests dined on a lavish menu that included grilled chicken with ginger green curry, seared Pacific cod with lemon vodka volute, tri-colored pearl couscous and truffled mac and cheese. For dessert, the options included strawberry tiramisu and white chocolate Tahitian vanilla bean bread pudding.
Philiana Ng and Natalie Stone contributed to this report.