LOS ANGELES - It was a rare gathering of some of Hollywood's brightest as Hugh Jackman led the cast of ''Les Miserables,'' the much-talked-about musical film by director Tom Hooper, to celebrate at holiday season at a dinner reception at the Porter House New York.Hugh was even game to lead the singing of ''Happy Birthday'' to Amanda Seyfried who gamely received a ''lap dance'' from Hugh and was asked to stand on a chair. After the blowing of Amanda's cake, the other ''Les Miserables'' cast members joined Hugh and Amanda.
Also present were the lovely Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Russell Crowe, Samantha Barks and Cameron Mackintosh. Some other celebrities who joined in the fun were Joan Collins and Sharon Stone. • • •
We were recently invited to a holiday party at the Beverly Hills Hotel where we met the animators of such Disney-Pixar feature animated films like ''Brave,'' ''Frankenweenie,'' and ''Wreck-It Ralph'' and the black-and-white animated short, ''Paperman.
'' We brought our youngest daughter, Rafaella ''Ella'' Angelica, who is taking up digital animation at The Art Institute of California-Los Angeles. Ella, who invited her friend Alex Garcia, got excited when upon entering the Beverly Hills Hotel, who should be there talking to some guests but Tim Burton himself, director of ''Frankenweenie.'' ''Keep on animating,'' advised Tim. ''Get your characters from your real life experiences.'' Tim, who came minus wife Helena Bonham Carter, told Ella that ''we need more female animators in the industry.
'' Close by was Disney-Pixar's Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter whom we teased was not wearing his kilt but a regular business suit. He proudly wore one when we met him in Edinburgh, Scotland for the movie, ''Brave.'' ''He does not want to play favorites but I know 'Brave' is his favorite,'' whispered ''Brave'' director Mark Andrews to us.
Mark, who was wearing his kilt, refused to tell us whether he was wearing it the traditional way or not. ''Scottish men are not supposed to tell that,'' he said and winked. We also met Alex Mandel, the ''Brave'' songwriter of ''Touch the Sky'' and ''Into the Open Air'' which were both performed by award-winning Scottish singer Julie Fowlis.
When Alex found out that we were Filipinos, he said that he is married to a Filipina ''so I eat pancit, adobo, lumpia and balut.'' We told him that it was unusual that an American guy can eat balut. ''Oh yes,'' he confirmed. ''I eat everything in the balut including the crunchy part!'' he proudly declared. Alex also told us how he has learned how to make lumpia and sing karaoke with his wife's relatives and friends.
Alex disclosed that there are a number of Filipino animators working at Pixar who call themselves ''Pixnoys.'' We told him we have met them already when we visited the Pixar Animation Studios at Emeryville, California and that we have interviewed some of them like Ronnie del Carmen, Ricky Nierva and Gini Santos among others.
Also present at the event was actor John C. Reilly who was the voice of ''Wreck-It Ralph'' in the movie of the same title. John, who was looking good in a black hat, admired my husband Ruben's ''Wreck-It Ralph'' t-shirt. In fact, when Ruben met nine-year-old child actress Quvenzhane Wallis of ''Beasts of the Southern Wild'' at the Miss Golden Globe announcement party, the young actress immediately pointed to his tee and said she liked his t-shirt.
Ella talked also to ''Wreck-It Ralph'' writers Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee. Phil advised Ella ''to animate your family, friends and classmates. It is always a good practice to start with the people you always see or hang out with.'' Jennifer, for her part, hit it off immediately with Ella as they enthusiastically engaged in a very, should I say, animated conversation.
Jennifer shared with us that she is co-directing the new Disney-Pixar 3-D movie, ''Frozen,'' with ''Tarzan's'' Chris Buck. Jennifer told Ella to always ''think out of the box.'' She said, ''Just like you, I usually am able to guess the villain or the ending of a story. So when I wrote 'Wreck-It Ralph,' I made sure the kids who usually guess the ending or who the villain is won't be able to guess it,'' she said. Ella admitted she was not able to guess the villain in the story.
''Wreck-It Ralph'' director Rich Moore also talked to Ella and advised her to really develop her characters. ''You just need the audience to be able to relate to one character and be emotionally invested in him for a good story to work,'' he said.