Entertainers, philanthropists and political leaders came out last night to celebrate a global movement for good at the Unite4Humanity Oscar Party hosted by Unite4Good in association with Variety at Sony Pictures. To take you there, we captured Former President Bill Clinton’s opening remarks, along with Academy Award Nominee Steve Coogan presenting a special award to the real Philomena celebrating how passion and film can change the world.
You can also see our red carpet photos of Jane Fonda, Alicia Keys, Katherine Heigl (http://jasonheiglfoundation.org), Blair Underwood, and Demi Lovato in our VIDEO: 2014 Unite4Good Oscar Party RECAP by Goody Awards.
Along with five Inspiration Awards for everyday heroes, honorees included Alicia Keys (Music Visionary Award), Demi Lovato (Young Luminary Award), John Sykes (Media Social Visionary Award), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Creative Commitment in Television Award), Martin Scorsese (Creative Conscience Award), Robert De Niro (Creative Commitment in Film Award), and Selena Gomez (Young Visionary Award).
On the red carpet, Unite4Good Founder Anthony Melikhov shared his big picture dreams, “We’re trying to create a global movement to connect millions and millions of people so giving back and kindness become an everyday phenomenon, not just a one day phenomenon. We’re trying to change it from negativity to positivity, that’s what Unite4Good is about.”
During dinner, Former President Clinton focused his remarks on humanity. With passion, Mr. Clinton shared, “Anthony has done a good thing tonight because Unite4Humanity is simply a way of saying nobody’s right all the time, and besides we’re stuck in the same boat. We have to share the future, the prosperity, the responsibilities, the obligation to live in peace and harmony. If we do it, great things will happen, and this will be the most exciting period in human history. We dare not fail.”
To emphasize the need to help each other survive, Mr. Clinton added, “You are 99.5% identical to everybody here, and yet we all spend 99.5% of our time thinking about the .5% of us that is different, and I’m not just talking about politics,…it is killing us in an interdependent world…. People are the great cooperators because we have something that others don’t. We have consciousness and conscience, but because we’re so smart we’re prone to arrogance, and selfishness, and short-sightedness…You cannot live in an interdependent world… and say I’m sorry, I choose not to share the future. I’m sorry I choose to make every game a zero sum game where in order for me to win, somebody else has got to loose. That’s what’s at stake in the Ukraine. You watch it.”
As a tough act to follow, Actor, Producer and Writer Steve Coogan for Best Picture Nominee “Philomena” then introduced the real Philomena Lee. It was moving to see him present her with the Everyday Hero Award.
With great pride, Steve shared how his film and Philomena Lee are changing the world, “Years ago, I read an article in the paper about a woman’s arduous 50-year search to find out the identity of her son after she was forced to give it up for adoption by the Catholic Church. Tragically, she was one of 60,000 women who had their children taken from them. It was her story that inspired me to write ‘Philomena’. Since that time, the real Philomena Lee and her daughter, Jane Middleton, have started the Philomena Project, a campaign asking Irish authorities to open thousands of files on these adopted children and reuniting them with their families. Philomena’s warmth, humor, determination and ability to keep her faith through all of this are truly humbling.”
And then Philomena accepted the Everyday Hero Award with these heartwarming words, “Thank you everybody….All I ever wanted was to find my son Anthony. I was never able to tell him that I loved him, but now through the Philomena Project, I can tell the thousands of other women and children who found themselves in this situation that there is no room for them to feel ashamed anymore….Of course, I could not be here tonight if it were not for the remarkably talented Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope (screenwriter), the Dane Judi Dench of course,….and The Weinstein Company. You have each helped me to tell my story in a way that I could never have dreamed, and I remain in awe of how many people we have reached…Thank you very much.”
And what’s great about so many of the Best Picture Nominees is that many of them are changing the world through education. Because of his work with AHF (AIDS Healthcare Foundation) and Artists for New Africa, we asked Blair Underwood (“LA Law”) about “Dallas Buyers Club.” He praised the movie by sharing, “It’s a powerful film, powerful performances, and it’s getting all the attention it should get.” When asked about his Best Picture pick, Blair Underwood chose “12 Years a Slave,” which is now being added to some high school curriculums.
Many thanks to Unite4Good, Variety and the sponsors, including Clear Channel, iHeart Radio, Crstyal Light, drab Foundation, Get CUBED, Gillette, Johnny Walker, Just Green, Macy’s, Morocannoil, and Sony, for supporting this powerful event. And special thanks to Variety for the Cinnamon Chocolate, Variety Magazine and late night lattes on the way out.
© Liz H Kelly @LizHKelly, National Digital Entertainment Columnist and Goody PR and Goody Awards Founder http://goodyawards.com