This past weekend, most people’s minds were centered squarely on The Oscars. What would happen in light of the #Oscarssowhite movement? Would someone come to the stage and discuss an issue that pervades the industry, still, in 2016? The night’s host Chris Rock made sure to throw out every racially inspired joke in the book, some funny because of the absurdity, others simply falling flat.
Another pressing question: Would Leonardo DiCaprio finally win an Oscar? (He did). Rather than only focus on himself (and the fact that it took far too many years to win an Oscar), DiCaprio took a moment to acknowledge the havocs of climate change, and the importance of working together to prevent further destruction to the environment, and humanity as a whole:
We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this. For our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.
DiCaprio’s speech resonated with all who watched the Oscars Sunday night, especially those attending the Oscar Viewing Gala benefiting the Children Uniting Nations at the Taglyan Center, located in the heart of Hollywood.
Founded in 1999 by Daphna Ziman, Children Uniting Nations aims to protect the children in underserved populations, with particular attention paid to children in foster care. Not unlike DiCaprio, Ziman is unafraid of voicing her concerns on an issue, and has proven herself as a true leader and advocate for children’s health and safety.
Throughout her struggle, Ziman made a name for herself on Capitol Hill, effectively lobbying to revise the Family Preservation and Reconciliation Act to guarantee safety for foster children returning to abusive birth parents.
Every year, Children Uniting Nations pairs thousands of foster children, with mentors. Mentorship opportunities include school-based and community-based mentoring programs.
The night featured a red carpet, that encompassed a special entrance walkway and saw an eclectic mix of celebrities and established cinephiles such as Andy Dick, Radha Mitchell, Max Ryan, Larry Dunn, David Faustino, Ellen Hollman, J. Sutta, Joseph Gatt, Alice Amter, Natasha Alam, Katie Clarke, Kira Kazantsev, Samantha Mumba, Melia Kreiling, Andre Soriano, Amy Willerton, Bruce Cault, Derek Warburton, Cristen Mills, Tasha Boué, Nawal Bengholam, Izabella Miko, Monique Zordan, Lee Broad, Shin Koyamada, Rochelle Vincente Von K, Sarodj Bertin, Sarah-Jane Crawformd, Shawne Mirriman, Tonya Kay, Vik Sahay, Clement Von Franckenstein, Steven Berkoff, Demetrius Grosse, Katiy Cleary, Nia Lyte, Sam Horrigan, and Mercy Malick.
Inside the event, people mingled and enjoyed cocktails sponsored by Dama, Hula Girl, and wines graciously donated by Seebass Vineyards. As the Oscars began, people enjoyed a seated formal dinner, rooting for their favorite actor or film to win. But once the Oscars began to wind down, the guests were treated to a high-couture runway show highlighting the works of many designers. Hosted by Amy Willerton, the fashion show included the works of Slovakian Renata Kliska and her latest creations from her La Rena label, Indonesian designer Anniesa Hasibuan with her latest collection “PearlAsia,” and Mialy Seheno with her gorgeous and masterfully crafted ball gowns.