Friday, November 10, 2006

Hello, Children Of The Ocean!

Last night, on a hilltop near Mulholland, the Oceana Awards produced some inspiringly memorable moments. On hand to accept his Ocean Hero Award, recipient JAMES CAMERON gave the glamorous gathered Oceana fundraisers a glimpse into his aqueous soul. And, perhaps, the best explanation to date for all his rapturously liquid movies. He’s been a scuba diver from the age of sixteen. Introduced by the ever-effervescent JAMIE LEE CURTIS, who lovingly described her TRUE LIES director as 'a geek', Cameron ("Hey, Jamie, 'Geeks' are the guys who tear the heads off chickens?!") spoke from the heart, off-the-cuff and, not surprisingly, quite eloquently. What became as clear as the blue glass sculptures of wafting bubbles that framed the presenters and honorees was Mr. Cameron's abiding love for the sea and for Oceana’s work to restore its abundance. "The next ten years will decide the fate of the oceans," he predicted, going on to explain that at the very least we will be deciding whether it will contain anything like the rich diversity that first drew him to explore its vastness and that is, sadly, no longer there.

TED DANSON emceed with the effortless grace and charm he’s shown since his dancing Assistant D.A. debut in BODY HEAT. He deftly gave way at the podium for NICK CAGE to do the honors and, in his inimitable way, Mr. Cage, another devoted son of the sea, stirred us all with a gentle post-election call for "An Ocean Revolution". He presented an Oceana Partners Award to publicist ANNETT WOLF who’s been a tireless supporter of its work. SALMA HAYEK then stirred hearts and souls in presenting another of the three Oceana Partner Awards to ABC Prexy STEVE MCPHERSON. Holy Aqualung, the ravishing Ms. Hayek also revealed roots to the briny deep. Her love affair with the blue fathoms also began with scuba diving -- at the tender age of 12! If there were any lingering doubts about the sense and sensibility of this actress, they were scattered in the chill hilltop breezes which kept many from investigating the pool-decked plateau where Esquire House 360 is stunningly sited. And Mr. McPherson disarmed and delighted all with his remarks, claiming that the extent of his ocean activism had to date been no more than to stop eating Chilean Sea Bass!

What was great – and there was a lot of gilded glitz and gaucherie to the Esquire Housed affair: wall screens in nearly every room, Luis Vuitton straps on the bookshelves in his "signature suite" – was this frank admission. This is the purpose of celebrity. You are called upon to be honored as a means of lending your name, your notoriety, your circle of friends (and your rolodex!) to a worthy cause. And it is a far, far better thing that you do, if it is no more than having not eaten an endangered species, that you give of your public estate, your good name, to saving the planet.

Doing this, and more, were the night’s two other Partner recipients, PIERCE BROSNAN and his wife, KEELY. Afterward, both a silent and not-so-silent auction was held as guests mingled and wandered through the many-roomed mansion.

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