POLLYWOOD | 29th Annual Kennedy Center Honors
December 3 · The Kennedy Center Opera House
PHOTOS BY PAUL SIMKIN
It's the Oscars of Washington; what Sundance is to independent fi lm; the Superbowl of D.C. celebrity, if you will - and certainly the only party in town even Washington Life readers have a hard time getting into. For the uninitiated, the Kennedy Center Honors involves several A-list-packed events: Honorees are feted at a Kennedy Center luncheon, White House reception, a State Department banquet, a more casual brunch at the Mandarin Oriental's venerable Café Mozu and fi nally a red carpet gala performance at the Kennedy Center Opera House. Aside from the glitz and history of the awards, the event also represents the Kennedy Center's most important annual fundraising event - a rarity in this "oh, no not another award show" era. The Kennedy Center Honors are also unique in that honorees neither perform nor give acceptance speeches and they must agree to attend.
The Scene: The whole world has heard about Jessica Simpson's nonplussed tribute to Dolly Parton, which led to Simpson running off the stage to no applause. Awards founder George Stevens, Jr. explained a few days later at the Q&A Café at Nathans that Simpson re-shot the performance after the show - not the fi rst time that had occurred, he diplomatically added (although, he did admit the other instances were for technical reasons.) Simpson ultimately requested that her performance (or lack there of) be pulled. Fashion was also a hot topic as when First Lady Laura Bush found herself in a $8,500 Oscar de la Renta couture clash with not one, but three other women at the White House reception in the same dress (apparently the other women didn't "get the memo".)
The Guests: The toughest ticket in town saw 2,000 attendees headlined by President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and wife Lynne, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Sergeant and Eunice Shriver, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Carrie Underwood, Jessica Simpson, Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Kenny Rogers, Barbara Walters, Sen. John McCain and wife Cindy, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and his wife, NBC News reporter Andrea Mitchell, Sarah Brightman, violinist Itzhak Perlman, Reba McIntyre and Liam Neeson.
POLLYWOOD | KENNEDY CENTER HONORS BRUNCH
December 4 · Café Mozu, Mandarin Oriental
PHOTOS BY KYLE SAMPERTON
THE SCENE: Café MoZU was again the place to be for a starstudded and decidedly causal (for Washington) Honors brunch. In attendance were some of Hollywood's fi nest mixing with the Washington power elite. Steven Speilberg and Tom Hanks took turns in photo ops with newly appointed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi; Sen. Ted Kennedy shared a tempting photo-op with Smokey Robinson; Dolly Parton added a shot of smile expresso to the morning aff air and Rita Wilson, Andrew Lloyd Weber, the late Art Buchwald and Barbara Walters rounded out the star power.