Hollywood Moves Forward With Oscar Parties Despite UTA Boycott

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UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer

While the agency will hold a pro-immigration rally in lieu of its traditional bash, other organizers are nodding to the political climate through their events.

After UTA announced Wednesday that it will host a pro-immigration rally in lieu of its usual Oscar bash, many wondered whether other organizers would follow suit. But so far, the agency’s decision appears to be an exception to a weekend that will remain one of the busiest on the Hollywood social calendar.

Although none of the other organizers on the Oscar-weekend party circuit have announced plans to cancel their events — rival agencies CAA, WME-IMG and ICM Partners are expected to hold their customary fetes, although details have yet to be released — several are using their celebrations to promote various social-justice causes.

Global Green, which throws an environmentally conscious gala each year, will honor Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council chairman David Archambault II during its Feb. 22 party at Tao Los Angeles. The Standing Rock reservation has been at the center of a yearlong fight to prevent the Dakota Access Pipeline from being built through its land, a cause that has attracted the support of many across the United States, including in Hollywood.

The Elton John AIDS Foundation, of course, will continue to raise funds for the singer’s nonprofit, whose Oscar-night viewing party raised $6.2 million last year to fund treatment for people living with HIV or AIDS. Vanity Fair is hosting a week’s worth of events in the days leading up to the Feb. 26 awards ceremony; its calendar includes a toast to "Young Hollywood" on Feb. 21, which will support The Roar Foundation’s Shambala Preserve, and a dinner honoring La La Land the following the night that will double as a benefit for the American Civil Liberties Union. The outlet's star-studded post-Oscars party will go on as planned. In addition, the annual "Night Before" benefit, which raises money for the Motion Picture & Television Fund, still will take place.

UTA’s announcement on Wednesday included the news that the agency is donating $250,000 to the ACLU and the International Rescue Committee. The UTA Foundation has set up a CrowdRise campaign to solicit further donations to the two organizations. The move was prompted in part by Iranian client Asghar Farhadi, who, despite his film The Salesman receiving an Oscar nomination for best foreign-language film, said last month that he would not attend the ceremony in light of President Donald Trump’s executive order banning entry of citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Iran. (Last week, a U.S. district judge issued a restraining order on the ban, and today a federal appeals panel ruled 3-0 to uphold the suspension of Trump’s ban.)

In response to UTA’s plans, Farhadi texted a statement from Tehran that he is “honored and in tears.”

Chris Gardner contributed to this report.