Sunday, July 21, 2024

Cannes amFAR Comeuppance: No Sharon Stone, No Leo, No Cate (Who Was In Town), No A Listers, Festival Has Separate Press Dinner


After decades of rudeness and hubris, amFAR finally got its comeuppance in Cannes last night. No A listers went to the annual gala unless you count Pierce Brosnan and Anne Heche. But the days of Sharon Stone, Leonardo DiCaprio, Elton John, Nicole Kidman are over.

Even Cannes jury head Cate Blanchett stayed away. Kristen Stewart walked the red carpet and left. Sting, who performed with Shaggy, skipped the red carpet completely.

Meantime, even Cannes chiefs Thierry Fremaux and Pierre Lescure had a better idea: they hosted an elegant, moving dinner for the press back in Cannes on the Croisette following a triumphant screening of Natalie Bakin’s “Capharnaum” at the Palais– ironically the best received movie of the festival, which some predict (including moi) a winner of the Palme D’Or.

Many others skipped amFAR including Spike Lee, who is waiting to see if he gets any awards at Saturday’s final ceremony, and everyone from “Star Wars” left to do their international publicity.

Scandals rocked amFAR this past year, all stemming from the departures of Harvey Weinstein, who raised millions and millions for the organization, and chairman¬† Kenneth Cole. Stars didn’t want to answer tough questions on the red carpet, so they went elsewhere. This left amFAR with a lot of models (pretty, but well…) and a smattering of names you might know but aren’t exactly glamorous. Even John Travolta got out of town after spending the prior night watching his old movie “Grease” for free on the beach in the freezing cold.

But amFAR deserves what it gets. Years of years of spending millions of donors’ money on chauffeured cars and other frivolities has come back to bite them. I had a good laugh watching eager wait staff getting credentials for the night at the outside gate of the Hotel duCap at lunchtime on Thursday. If only they knew amFAR president Kevin Frost makes $600,000 a year, or what the other salaries and perks are for an organization that has marked itself by excess.

But there’s still some people with money who don’t know what to do with it. That was evident during the live auction, when reportedly someone said they’d pay $1.2 million euro for a painting of Bob Dylan by Pierce Brosnan. Too much Champagne, I fear. Buyer’s remorse this morning!


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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