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Sharon Stone again hosted the amfAR Cinema Against Aids event at the Moulin de Mougins restaurant just outside Cannes, which this year raised over $3m for Aids research, a record for the charity and its most successful event ever.
This is the 12th time the event has been held during the Festival de Cannes, and was co-sponsored by Miramax Films and Palisades Pictures. The evening is famous as the biggest triple A-list party during the festival, attracting not only Ms Stone, who took to the stage as guest auctioneer, but co-patrons Liza Minnelli, David Furnish, Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek, Penelope Cruz, Brittany Murphy and Milla Jovovich.
Vincent Roberti, CEO of co-sponsor Palisades Pictures was joined by French Vogue’s Carine Roitfeld, to listen to an emotional opening speech by Kenneth Cole, the amfAR Chairman of the board.
Lots included a song by Ms Minnelli which sold for $120,000 to Ms Jovovich, tennis lessons with Boris Becker and Monica Seles which went to Bob Weinstein for $100,000, and an exclusive haute couture perfume made especially for the buyer went for a very reasonable $35, 000.
Among the more hotly contested lots was the Louis Vuitton amfAR vanity case designed by Ms Stone, who demonstrated how essential it is to the travelling woman that the bidding jumped from a $3,000 opener up to $180,000 in quickfire $5,000 dollar flashes. In the end Ms Stone promised the two competing bidders a kiss if she supplied two cases. The hammer dropped on that deal.
Academy award nominee Clive Owen hosted the bid for Robert Rauschenberg’s original 1989 work ‘lattice work (borealis)’ in much more sedate fashion, but had no trouble securing a close of $125,000 prompting many women in the room to ask why he hadn’t offered the same additional prize as Ms Stone - a kiss - as the price may well have jumped accordingly.
Ms Jovovich, star of The Fifth Element and Joan of Arc, took the bidding for a combined package, Chopard watch engraved with the signature of Sir Elton John, amfAR patron, tickets to Sir Elton’s Oscar party, and a bottle of what is said to be his favourite cognac, Remy Martin Louis XIII, which is crowned with a crystal stopper containing a cognac-coloured diamond. This luxury package was the highest bid lot of the evening earning $260,000 for the charity. Ms Jovovich had promised a performance of the song Big Spender to the winning bidder and she delivered in raunchy style.
Comedian Chris Tucker, whose ad lib skills are only rivalled by those of Ms Stone, sold an advance screening of Miramax’s film “Proof” and dinner for 50 people at Cipriani Downtown in New York for $100,000 to himself, even though he was pushing the bidding higher by joking with anyone scratching their head or lifting an eyebrow that they had just added $2,000 dollars to the price.
The highlight of the evening came when Ms Stone again took the stage to ask any of those present who had $10,000 to spare if they would “stand up and put their hands up and help us cure Aids”. Around 35 people accepted her invitation and were rewarded with an emotional performance of New York, New York by Ms Minnelli, who apologised for not being in good voice, but was drowned out by a standing ovation anyway.