The Spanish star, Eduardo Verástegui, Paulina Rubio, Angélica Aragón and Tony Bennett hit up the event organized by the Smithsonian Institution

Por People Staff
Updated Enero 25, 2008
principal Bella: Paulina Rubio, Alejandro Sanz y Angelica Aragon

Thursday evening, the Smithsonian Latino Center of New York, along with PEOPLE EN ESPAÑOL magazine, had a private party to celebrate the success of the movie Bella and Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz's El tren de los momentos tour.

The red carpet affair boasted the presence of celebrities like Mexican actors Eduardo Verástegui and Angélica Aragón, Dominican actor Manny Pérez, Puerto Rican actor Ramón Rodríguez and Mexican director Alejandro Monteverde.

Sanz – who contributed a song to the film after seeing it – attended the bash, along with singing legend Tony Bennett. Shakira's boyfriend Antonio de la Rúa made an appearance, but left early. The big surprise of the night was the presence of Mexican singer Paulina Rubio, who arrived hand-in-hand with her husband Nicolás Vallejo-Nágera. The pair showed up after the event's ceremony was over, and they headed straight for the VIP area.

The bash took place at New York's Hotel Bowery. Last year the film won the Smithsonian Legacy Award, and in 2006 earned the People's Choice Award, the highest honor at the Toronto International Film Festival. After taking home this last award, many people thought Bella would score an Oscar nomination, but the film fell short of that honor.

“For me, the Oscar is when a person comes up to me and says, ‘Eduardo, your movie changed my life, thank you,' that's why I did the movie, that what motivated me to start a production company, to make movies that raise up, respect and heal the dignity of Latinos in the United States. That's my mission,” Bella star and producer Verástegui told us.

As for Aragón, the Mexican actress expressed her excitement for the film's acknowledgement and success. “[I'm] happy, because I think they deserve it, Alejandro Monteverde, Eduardo Verástegui and Leo Severino. The enormous talent that they have and the effort they put into promoting their work definitely had to end up being an absolute success. I love that they're being recognized because that encouragement is really important,” she said.