Oscar Bidding

Stars Shell Out for a Good Cause at Elton John's Hollywood Bash


Sean Penn and Petra Nemcova.
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Kate Beckinsale.
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"Come on, bring it up to $1,150,000 and I'll take my trousers off," goaded Sir Elton John, at his AIDS Foundation's annual Oscar party, co-sponsored by VH1 and Chopard, at the Pacific Design Center. He was encouraging a roomful of celebrity friends to bid on a 1974 restored Corvette convertible that belonged to his pal Sharon Stone.

"I would take mine off, but you've seen that already," chuckled Stone, referring, of course, to her steamy sans panties scene in Basic Instinct. Later, as John and his band played hits like "Tiny Dancer" and "Benny and the Jets," Stone relaxed in a white Dior pantsuit, her heels up on a chair. Was she sad to see her car go? "Not for a million dollars in AIDS research! I'm thrilled."

Less thrilling, it seemed, was the fashion that had appeared on the Oscars red carpet earlier in the evening. "There was no Ava Gardner moment," concluded American Idol judge Simon Cowell, as various boldface names like Faye Dunaway, T.R. Knight, and Courtney Love passed him on their way to the Porta-Potties. "It was all rather boring, wasn't it?"
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