The talk of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Annual Gala on Saturday night was none other than J. Edgar, Clint Eastwood’s magnum opus about the late FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, which opens next week.
The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as Eastwood and artist John Baldessari were honored during the event, which was hosted by the film’s star, Leonardo DiCaprio. In a way, the gala felt a bit like an extension of J. Edgar’s Thursday AFI premiere—only this time, it was attached to a major cultural institution and had a few artists (including Chuck Close and Julian Schnabel) thrown in.
Though the film’s stars, DiCaprio and The Social Network’s Armie Hammer, play lovers in the movie, they were certainly not together over cocktails. Despite rumors that he’s dating Blake Lively, DiCaprio arrived alone, and spent time taking compliments on his performance and chatting with the evening’s other host, art doyenne and LACMA trustee Eva Chow. Hammer, who plays J. Edgar’s longtime partner, Clyde Tolson, arrived with his wife, Elizabeth Chambers.
The evening before, much of the same crowd congregated for a screening of the film at the museum, followed by a Q&A with Easwood, DiCaprio, Hammer, and the film’s writer, Dustin Lance Black (who won an Oscar for Milk). DiCaprio and Hammer described that it took them five to six hours and seven to eight hours to get into the old-age makeup they wear for much of the film. J. Edgar has garnered early positive reviews, with The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg writing that he had “seen a very good film—but not one that is a slam-dunk for a best picture nomination.” As Deadline Hollywood’s Pete Hammond put it Saturday, the J. Edgar Oscar campaign “rolls into high gear.”
In terms of fashion, Gucci (the evening’s sponsor) unsurprisingly made out big, dressing starlets from Camilla Belle to Evan Rachel Wood in throwback sequined designs from its spring/summer 2012 collection, which are reminiscent of the Roaring '20s. (Fitting, of course, with J. Edgar, parts of which play out at the dawn of the Great Depression.) Even Christian Louboutin (who celebrated the release of his new book at Barneys in Los Angeles on Thursday) was there to take it all in.
Despite all the Hollywood wattage in the room, the biggest star of the night may have been Stevie Wonder, who came in a bejeweled black suit and stopped only to grab Eastwood for a photo op on the way in. Reese Witherspoon was never out of arm’s length of her agent-husband, Jim Toth, and Kate Hudson, who scurried straight into dinner, made small talk during the meal with Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore, who slung an arm around each other. By the time Wonder took the stage over dessert, the crowd, which included everyone from Jane Fonda to Zac Efron to a Jonas brother or two, went wild. “LACMA Event tonight was perfection!” Rachel Zoe tweeted. “Stevie Wonder to end a night of Clint Eastwood and Leonardo D in a stunning setting was beyond.” Signed, sealed, delivered, indeed.