[i]The actor is still deciding on his Oscar day plans, Adrien Brody party-hops with girlfriend Lara Lieto and Paul Haggis dishes on his new movie.[/i]
HOLLYWOOD — Gerard Butler’s officially in Argo’s corner.
“Ben Affleck is turning out to really be one of the forefront directors of our time,” said a tux-clad Butler at the Sunset Tower Hotel Thursday night before he picked up hosting duties at the Hollywood Domino & Bovet 1822 Pre-Oscar Gala & Tournament. “His movies are so watchable and so sophisticated and classy. I loved Argo. I also really enjoyed Silver Linings Playbook.” But, “I think Argo will take the Oscar,” he predicted.
Butler joined Paul Haggis, Donna Karan and Madeleine Stowe in hosting the pre-Oscars charity event, which featured a live auction and Hollywood-infused dominos tournament. The evening raised over a half million dollars for Artists for Peace and Justice, a non-profit organization that addresses issues of poverty around the world, particularly in Haiti.
Butler’s personal favorite film this season? The low-budget wonder Beasts of the Southern Wild. “The movie that I found the most charming and original was Beasts of the Southern Wild,” said the upcoming Olympus Has Fallen star. “It’s hard to say what movie deserves an Oscar. You watch a movie like that and you look at the imagination and the artistry that went into it, and the performances by people who had never acted before that wipe the floor with myself and many other actors in this town. How can you have a winner in those circumstances?”
Despite the chilly temperatures, the open-air party (aided by a bevy of heat lamps) featured a swirl of guests including included Adrien Brody, who hopped over from the Vanity Fair party with his model girlfriend Lara Lieto, Ali Larter, David Arquette, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Kristin Davis, Moby (who hung out with Heather Graham), Peter Facinelli, Topher Grace, Karolina Kurkova, Rose McGowan, Josh Hartnett and Jessica Szohr.
Against the Hollywood backdrop, there was even a mock Haitian hut assembled for guests to experience, with four spare walls and a “kitchen” featuring a lone iron pot. “There is no stove,” read a nearby placard. “The daily meal is prepared outside in a single pot over an open fire.”
Haggis, who co-founded Artists for Peace and Justice in 2009, spent the party mingling after raising money (which included a few auctioned kisses from the stage). He confessed he’s no pro with dominos. “I do play regular dominoes but these are classy-style,” he joked. The Crash director remained mum on his Oscar picks. “I have favorites but I’m not going to tell you who they are,” he teased. “I voted!”
Haggis is just back from eight months in Rome, where he shot his upcoming film, TheThird Person, with Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde, Mila Kunis, James Franco, Brody and Maria Bello. “I’m starting to cut it now,” he said. His mood? “Suicidal,” he joked, laughing.”I always feel that way as soon as I finish shooting a movie.”
Meanwhile, Butler’s still deciding if his tux will travel to the Oscars on Sunday. “I was thinking of maybe going up and visiting a space station and missing all the mayhem and then come back down Monday,” he joked.