For 13 years the annual G’Day USA gala has been celebrating great Australian-American partnerships.
So it was appropriate that one of the latest such partnerships, that of billionaire James Packer and entertainer Mariah Carey should star on the red carpet.
They were set to sit at Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness’ table and Hugh told me he was very excited for them, while Deb said she was keen to sneak a peek at the ring.
Hugh and Deb were also celebrating the Order of Australia awarded to Deb’s mum Fay Duncan on Australia Day for services to charity.
Top-selling Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer, below, were missing bass player Calum Hood, who had lost his passport. I pointed out that Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was right beside them on the red carpet and could possibly help with such matters. Should be an interesting chat!
Of course Ms Bishop had a lot of other important work on her plate, and admitted some more big US film and television productions could be heading to our shores.
Ridley Scott’s next Alien adventure and Chris Hemworth’s next Thor outing are already about to start rolling on Australian soil.
It was fascinating to see the amount of interest in the event from US media. All the big shows and publications were here, with the ‘Jamiah’ nuptials proving a big draw card. But one of the tonight’s honourees was also being mobbed – Dr George Miller’s Mad Max Fury Road scored 10 Oscar nominations, including a best director nod for George.
The event itself was held in a deconsecrated church, but it still felt like hallowed ground when Porpoise Spit’s finest, Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths reunited to host the event.
The Muriel’s Wedding stars had the room in stitches. “We had planned to relive our Waterloo dance, but decided we might save it for the Jamiah wedding, if they pay us enough!” said Rachel.
Seal performed with his The Voice protégée Harrison Craig. The Grammy winner is dating James Packer’s ex-wife Erica Baxter, which made the night even more interesting!
Jason Clarke then did the honours, awarding his old flat mate and Great Gatsby co-star Joel Edgerton with the Excellence in Film Award.
George Miller got a long-standing ovation as he received the Lifetime Achievement Award and regaled the crowd with a speech packed with anecdotes and inspiration.
It’s traditional that someone perform I Still Call Australia Home at this event and we couldn’t have been luckier as the newest Qantas ambassador Hugh Jackman belted it out as the crowd in the room sang along.
Fabulous Australian food from chef Neil Perry and some of our finest wines kept the crowd fed and watered before RatPac chiefs Brett Ratner and James Packer hosted the after-party long into the night.
As Hugh Jackman quipped, in a town where most people go to bed by 10.30pm G’Day USA is a night to remember.