Where were you last night in New York says everything about who you are. The choices were the Film Society of Lincoln Center honoring Sidney Poitier, the Costume Institute Ball at the Metropolitan Museum, and the Stella Adler Foundation dinner for Liza Minnelli and Annette Bening. How did it all play out? The smart kids went to Lincoln Center, the Junior Prom went to the Met, and the money went to Stella Adler.
Basically, the Met Ball got Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney. Otherwise, it was the usual fashion competition among young actresses. Snore.
But the Lincoln Center tribute was phenomenal: it was the first time in their 30 year history that an African American was honored. Poitier, 84, was the logical choice. In what turned out to be a beautiful, moving, and funny tribute, these stars each took the stage: Bill Cosby, James Earl Jones, Chris Tucker, Morgan Freeman, Quincy Jones, Mary Louise Parker. Dan Aykroyd, Norman Jewison, Quentin Tarantino, Sir Ben Kingsley, Ruby Dee, Harry Belafonte, Chris Tucker, and Lulu, who sang “To Sir with Love.” Oprah Winfrey sent a taped message. Tony Bennett and director James Toback were in the audience, along with Joan Collins, Jim Belushi, Regis and Joy Philbin, and Sanaa Lathan, who has a major off Broadway hit with “Vera Stark” at the Second Stage Theater.
Meanwhile, at Denise Rich‘s Fifth Avenue aerie, Michael Douglas presented a Stella by Starlite award to Annette Bening, Liza Minnelli received hers from Elaine Stritch, Kate Mulgrew emceed, and awards also went to Wall Street legend Muriel Siebert and to United Airlines. Both Dan Lauria and Judith Light from Broadway’s “Lombardi” stopped by, and Liz Smith put in a rare appearance with pal Iris Love. Minnelli gave the loveliest, most cogent speech, was funny and off hand and totally had it together. It was impressive.