At the DreamWorks Animation party Friday night in Cannes celebrating 20 years of DWA movies as well as the World Premiere of How To Train Your Dragon 2, Jeffrey Katzenberg told me he and the Motion Picture & Television Fund are actively looking for a new venue for the Night Before Oscar party in February. The Fund announced on May 5 that they were moving the glitzy, star-studded charity event to a new location after the Sultan Of Brunei (who owns the Dorchester Hotel group. which operates the Bev Hills and Bel Air Hotels) instituted harsh new laws against gays and women in his country and sparked a firestorm of protest in Hollywood, prompting lots of events to flee the property. The action forced the MPTF to pull its party, which Katzenberg, who is Chairman of the MPTF, made famous. Conceived 12 years ago, it has been held every year since on Oscar weekend at the Beverly Hills Hotel to benefit the fund. It has earned multi-millions for the MPTF over the years. “It’s very sad,” Katzenberg said. “The Beverly Hills Hotel has been a part of Hollywood iconography for over 100 years, so to leave is sad but absolutely a must. In this day and age, to have that level of intolerance and prejudice is something that none of us in Hollywood can condone. It’s a shame.” He added that the employees of the hotel — innocent victims of all this — won’t suffer.
“The good news is that the staff of the hotel is being fully compensated,” he said. “Usually they are the ones who get hurt in these things, and I think a number of us were really, really concerned about all that. But they are being paid both their salary and benefits and the equivalent of their tips, whatever they would have gotten for the event.” As for a new venue, they are working on it. “We want to be someplace we can be for the next 20 years so it can be another great, exclusive place. So we are looking, we’re searching.”