Fear and Fundraising in L.A.

Hollywood Tries to Put Pre-Oscar Jitters Aside for a Pair of Causes That Really Matter


Jessica Alba   
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The Champagne is flowing, the stylists are overbooked, and everyone's feathers are in a ruffle—it's Oscars week in Hollywood. "I think some people should sweat it a lot more and some people a lot less," Paul Haggis mused last night at a cocktail party for Artists for Peace and Justice, his charity dedicated to relief for Haiti. "No, that's a lie," he added. "No one should sweat it more." With support from co-sponsors Brioni and Vanity Fair, the Crash director was trying to help a starry crowd (including Diane Lane, Kristen Bell, and Jon Hamm) at the Beverly Hills Hotel put their minds elsewhere, if only for a conscientious moment. "I forget it's awards season," said Maria Bello, who's visited the devastated country twice since the earthquake. "Haiti's the most important thing going on in the world right now."

Having recently done his part, in the form of a $250,000 sponsorship of a Haitian school, Gerard Butler was mentally preparing himself for "a lot of events, a lot of awards ceremonies, a lot of fittings." He'd noticed a shift in the movie crowd's mood this week, he added. "There's anticipation and dread."

Butler, who's not in the running, is almost certainly feeling less of that than James Cameron is, but the Avatar director pushed his Oscar anxieties aside to promote alternative energy later that evening at a Global Green USA fundraiser. "I've been clamoring about this for a while," he said on the carpet, then headed upstairs into Avalon, where he held court in an alcove directly across from one occupied by Jessica Alba. The actress made an early exit—"I'm not so cool, I'm old, I have a kid," she explained, smiling—but Cameron stayed on past midnight to chat with friends and fans. Talk about wind power.

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