For 26 years Elton John has been synonymous with Oscar night as his annual Oscar-viewing party and fundraiser for his Elton John AIDS Foundation has become a staple of the awards. The foundation’s chairman and John’s husband, David Furnish, is still amazed the couple get to invite their friends and favorite musicians to raise funds to fight AIDS.
“I always say to Elton when we leave and walk out the front door of our house to go and do the event, ‘We should be break dancing down the driveway,'” Furnish says. “The fact that we’re still able to do this after 26 years and get the support that we get. We’re already several million dollars inthe bank before we’ve done the auction, before we’ve done the pledging, just the level of support we get is unbelievable.”
That begs an important question: who is the better break dancer? “Me, definitely. When Arlene Phillips directed Elton in his ‘I’m Still Standing’ video she said he was the worst dancer with no sense of rhythm she’d ever worked with in her career,” Furnish says cracking up. “That’s not me, that’s Arlene Phillips who said that.”
Furnish promised he’d be break dancing in the pit last night when young rockers Greta Van Fleet took the stage following the Oscar telecast/dinner and a silent auction. Actor/musician Matthew Morrison also promised to be break dancing.
“I’m always in the mosh pit, I’ll be break dancing in the mosh pit,” he joked.
Morrison is a veteran of the party, having attended for more than a decade. He comes out because of his friendship with John and the cause.
“I’ve been coming to this event for over a decade now. They’re not gonna stop anytime soon,” Morrison said. “This is a force. People don’t talk about HIV and AIDS the way they used to. It was an epidemic, it’s got a little bit of a handle, but it’s still an epidemic out there. But I think if it wasn’t for the Elton John AIDS Foundation we would be talking about it in a much different way because they have done so much, not just for the actual disease, but for the stigma and the kind of shame that is associated with the disease. It’s amazing the outreach that they have and the work that they do behind the scenes.”
When throwing an Oscar party and fund raiser it has to both share the message and be a hell of a party. It is as Morrison’s most memorable moment attests to.
“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I will because it was very memorable, Elton John often wears those studded shoes, blinged out, I remember licking his shoe one year,” Morrison says. “Yeah, had a few drinks and he held it up. That was my most memorable moment.”