The creme de la creme of LA stepped out in their glittering finest on Wednesday night for two very specific reasons: President Barack Obama and Steven Spielberg.
The former was honored by the latter with the USC Shoah Foundation’s Ambassador for Humanity Award at a glittering gala that also marked the 20th anniversary of the foundation that Spielberg himself founded after making Schindler’s List in 1993. The center houses nearly 52,000 first-person histories spread out over 58 countries of Holocaust survivors and those who were persecuted by the Nazis.
Conan O’Brien hosted the gala, which took place at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, and Bruce Springsteen personally served as the evening’s entertainment. Yes, this is the party everyone in Tinseltown wishes they were invited to.
The 1,300 person strong crowd was a venerable who’s who of Hollywood. Turn to the left, see Barbra Streisand. Turn to the right, there’s Kim Kardashian. Additional guests included Samuel L. Jackson, Kathleen Kennedy, Jim Gianopulos, Phil Rosenthal, Jeff Skoll, Howard Gordon, Katie McGrath, Colin Hanks, Rita Wilson, Ted Sarandos and Nicole Avant, Jeff Garlin, Tom Rothman, Michael Wright, Stacey Snider, Kathleen Marshall, Octavia Spencer, Judge Judy Sheindlin, Sue Kroll, Mitch Hurwitz and Jami Gertz, among others.
Obama and Spielberg took to the stage together to present a video about Shoah, before the President gave a speech praising Schindler’s List. Because of film, he said, “we were reminded that the Holocaust was not a matter of distant history. The voices, the memories of survivors became a part of us. It entered into our DNA. That’s what stories do. That’s what Steven does. That’s what Bruce (Springsteen) does. They tell a story that stitches up our fates with the fates of theirs. That film gave us a stake in that history and a stake in insuring autocracies like that don’t happen again.”
Springsteen then took the stage to perform “The Promised Land” and “Dancing in the Dark.”