Focus Features threw a Peggy Siegal-coordinated luncheon for East Coast Academy members at New York City's Monkey Bar restaurant to celebrate its primary Oscar contender, Dallas Buyers Club, and its stars Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, who were in attendance.
The gathering was hosted by legendary Oscar winner Liza Minnelli, who welcomed guests -- including voters from across the branches of the Academy, among them actress Dana Ivey, animator Jimmy Picker, writer Alfred Uhry, publicist Susan Senk and producer/former Focus chief James Schamus -- with a rousing endorsement of the film. Noting that she has "nothing to do with this film except that I am a fan," she cheered its performances and generated considerable applause when she told McConaughey, "Honey, if you don't win the Academy Award, I'm giving you mine!"
Minnelli: "I have nothing to do with this film except that I am a fan of how it was done, of the insight and the way they played these characters. And the fact that you were watching something that wasn't necessarily comfortable but you could not stop watching. It drew you in, whether you wanted it to or not, and that's magic. That's magic. I mean, the last one [that did that for me] was On the Waterfront! [laughs] You, crazy Matthew, losing all of that weight [pats her stomach] -- it's one thing to lose all of that weight and to look like that -- that's harrowing enough -- but then to run like you did, with a body like that? And Jared, I mean, everything that you did -- all of the placements, every single second -- I felt wonderful for you, proud of you and sorry for you all at the same time, which I think one only feels for your friends.
"And Jennifer [Garner] was great -- she was just f---ing great! [laughs] I don't know what else to say. I haven't seen a movie like that in so long, and I'm so proud to be able to tell everybody. And honey [addressing McConaughey], if you don't win the Academy Award, I'm giving you mine!"
Source - Liza won for 'Cabaret' way back when