'It Is an Enormous Amount of Work.'

After the Oscars, David Furnish and Elton John Are the Go-To Party People

David Furnish and Sir Elton John, ready to party.
David Furnish and Sir Elton John, ready to party.
Sunday, February 22, 2009; Page M02

In Hollywood on Oscar night, one event is simply known as "Elton." (As in: "Are you going to Elton this year?") Elton John hosted his first big Oscar-watching dinner party and after-party musical performance in L.A. in 1993, which raised about $300,000 for his foundation for AIDS research. Now, 16 Oscar nights later, the party raises some $5 million for the cause.

Held at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, the event begins as a multi-course dinner for some 600 paying guests who watch the awards telecast on big screens, followed by an auction. After that, more guests -- some clutching Oscar statuettes -- arrive through the paparazzi gantlet and the event becomes a multi-act rock concert lasting into the wee hours.

John's civil partner (and party co-host), David Furnish, 46, spoke to us recently about the pressure (and fun) of what in his and Elton's world passes for "having a few friends over to watch the Oscars."

-- Hank Stuever

We've watched you and Elton work the room at this party before. It seems exhausting, but the overall feeling is that it's a big room of friends. It's communal, even for Hollywood.

That's very much what we try to achieve. . . . We make a point of going around the room and talking to everybody and thanking them for their support. . . . We don't want to have a special "other" party in a VIP area. We're all there to celebrate a great night in the industry.

Do you ever wish you could just pop some popcorn and watch the Oscars at home in your pajamas?

[Laughs.] I would really miss having the party. I can't imagine not doing it.


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