The Bloomberg table, front and center and closest to the president, had place settings for singer Barbra Streisand, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and actor Kevin Spacey. At the next table, NBC had placed the aforementioned Douglas with NBC newscaster Savannah Guthrie and Obama insider Valerie Jarrett.
Late-night talk-show host Conan O'Brien headlined the event.
The once-staid, now-glitzy annual dinner continues to evolve, and one development Saturday was the off-limits celebrity. For example, Psy, the Korean "Gangnam Style" pop sensation, stayed out of sight, protected by a handler, and would not pose for photographs.
In years past, stars would come once and never return, having discovered that the dinner wasn't actually at the White House but rather in a big hotel ballroom, and that most of the people attending were ink-stained journalists, obscure Washington staffers and assorted grumpy, old politicians. But there is a critical mass of star power now, and so even the stars who aren't currently in a Washington-themed movie or TV show will attend, just to be where the action is - and to hang out, apparently, in their own comfort zone with other stars.
The show-biz influence is so dominant now that Hollywood joined the big inside joke of the media-political crowd: At the start of the evening's program onstage, the audience saw a comic video montage featuring Spacey in his "House of Cards" role as a Machiavellian congressman haggling with the likes of Jay Carney, Steny Hoyer, John McCain and several brand-name pols and journos over who gets the best seats and sexiest guests for the dinner.
A very partial list of the famous folks (non-media, non-politics) on hand included, in no particular order or ranking of star power: Nicole Kidman, Jon Hamm, Olivia Munn, Gerard Butler, Amy Poehler, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Katy Perry, Kate Mara, Robin Wright, Connie Britton, Tony Goldwyn, Kerry Washington, Fred Armisen, Claire Danes, Jon Bon Jovi, Kathleen Turner, John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Steven Spielberg, Josh Radnor, Carrie Brownstein, Sharon Stone, Olivia Wilde, Michael Douglas, Michael J. Fox, Sofia Vergara, JC Chasez, Rebel Wilson, Gabby Douglas, Kevin McHale, Anna Wintour, Dan Stevens, Patrick Stewart, Justin Bartha, Tracy Morgan, Eric Stonestreet, Julie Bowen, Sophia Bush, Jessica Pare, Patricia Arquette, MC Hammer and Bradley Cooper.
Before the dinner began, billionaires George Lucas and David Rubenstein spent a few minutes in an intense discussion. Sequester? Interest rates? Nope. Lucas was sharing the woes of building a museum in San Francisco.
Spielberg, overheard: "This is my fourth year. I will say it will probably be my last. It's getting really hectic."
Radnor, who stars on the CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother," attended as a guest of the Creative Coalition, a nonprofit group that lobbies for funding for the arts in schools. Asked how the Washington social scene differs from that in Hollywood, Radnor said, "Actually, this is more socially intense."