Hollywood's Biggest Oscar Party Should Make a Statement, Petition Says

A party-bound Leonardo DiCaprio at last year's Academy AwardsEXPAND
A party-bound Leonardo DiCaprio at last year's Academy Awards
Ted Soqui/L.A. Weekly

The Academy Awards show this year is likely to be accompanied by a significant amount of dissent. A group led by Najee Ali of Project Islamic Hope plans to demonstrate outside the Dolby Theatre to decry the Oscars' continued lack of diversity. And earlier this month, one of Hollywood's most powerful deal-makers, United Talent Agency, announced it was canceling its annual afterparty in favor of a Friday pro-immigrant rally outside its Beverly Hills offices.

Now an online petition on the activist website Care2 is calling on Vanity Fair to turn its annual Oscars soiree, widely seen as the premier party of the night, into a fundraiser. The petition says UTA's vow to donate $250,000 to groups defending immigrants against President Trump's travel ban is a prime example of what might be done here.

"I would love to see Vanity Fair turn its post-Oscars party into a fundraiser for the ACLU or something similar," says Julie Mastrine, Care2's activism marketing and social media manager, who started the petition over the weekend. "There is so much money put into those events, and so many people attending them are well-off."

So far the petition has more than 14,000 signatures. The goal was 15,000. Vanity Fair did not respond to a request for comment.

The magazine's party was launched in 1994 by editor Graydon Carter, who saw an opening for a new event after legendary talent agent Swifty Lazar, who hosted the industry's biggest event of the night outside the actual awards ceremony, died in 1993. VF's affair quickly took the mantle as the place to be seen post-Oscars. If any one event outside the Dolby Theatre could make political waves Sunday night, it's this one.

"The annual event will certainly be clouded by the dark shadow of our national political situation," the petition says. "We have already been hearing many celebrities speaking out against Trump's agenda. ... It is a key opportunity to turn that influence into a force for good in these dark times."

Mastrine emphasizes that she doesn't think Vanity Fair should take UTA's route and cancel its party. She says it could have more impact if it carries on with its star-studded ways.


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