By Jenny Peters
Now in its 15th year, the G’Day USA Black Tie Gala wowed the well-heeled crowd who turned out to fill the ballroom of the new InterContinental Downtown Los Angeles, part of the huge Wilshire Grand Center, on Saturday, January 27, 2018. The tallest building west of the Mississippi (73 stories), it’s one of the City of Angels’ hottest new spots.
So naturally, this annual program (which includes events all over America) that began in L.A. and is produced by the Australian government, including Tourism Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Austrade, as well as Qantas Airways, which showcases the best of Australian film, food, wine, education, music, fashion, technology and more, had its star-studded at the new skyscraper.
The glittery gala drew a slew of Australia’s best-known entertainers as well as America’s as well, as 2018 Best Actress Oscar nominee and Queensland born Margot Robbie (for “I, Tonya,” that incredibly funny and sad biopic of ice skater Tonya Harding) led the night’s honorees. Also called to the dais for honors were other Aussies “Big Little Lies” producer Bruna Papandrea, “Grease” songwriter John Farrar, and, in a posthumous lifetime achievement award, Heath Ledger.
Robbie celebrated the ties between Hollywood and Oz, telling the convivial crowd that, “I moved to America seeking more opportunities, I bought a house here, I started a business here, I had found prosperity and success in this country. I’m sure many Aussies in the room know that in school we’re taught that Australia is the lucky country, and it is – but we’re also taught that the United States of America is the land of opportunity, and I’ve always thought if it that way.”
Lots of famous Americans joined in the celebration that featured a delectable dinner created by Aussie chef Curtis Stone, who now makes L.A. his home, too, including John Travolta, Amy Adams and Buzz Aldrin. They and the other popular Australian stars on hand, from Olivia Newton-John to Isla Fisher, Ruby Rose, Rachel Griffiths and Rose Byrne, were treated to musical performances by Rebel Wilson, Human Nature and Delta Goodrum.
Irish actor Colin Farrell honored his friend Heath Ledger, and after the gala wound down, the international mix of celebrants headed to the 7th floor pool, where everyone sipped Australian wines and discussed the best places to visit on our next trip to the Land Down Under.
We’re thinking the Kimberley Ranges in Western Australia, as we hear the landscapes there are spectacular, and maybe to Uluru in the Red Centre Outback desert heart of the Northern Territories, too, to see the incredible Field of Light Uluru art installation by Bruce Munro (on display until December 2020). Come join us, mates!
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