Hollywood will once again return to Washington for Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.
Among those due to attend this year’s “nerd prom,” to be emceed by “Community” star Joel McHale, are Rosario Dawson, Julianna Margulies, David McCallum, Gloria Estefan, Jeff Goldblum, Sofia Vergara, Tony Goldwyn and Madeline Stowe.
Other celebrity guests include Freida Pinto, Jessica Simpson, Darren Criss, Kristen Bell, and Anna Kendrick.
Traditionally, one of the big questions every year is whether the funny speech given by the emcee will be outshined by the comic speech given by the President of the United States.
In past speeches, President Barack Obama has used his comments to outwit both the media and political rivals including Donald Trump. Speeches by both McHale and Obama are due to be aired live by C-SPAN.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the White House Correspondents’ Association and the correspondents group has joined with History Channel to produce a short film to be shown at the dinner to commemorate the organization’s history.
In other ways, though, this year’s event and the weekend of Washington parties and related functions that surround it resemble the kind of starry-eyed navel gazing that NBC News’ Tom Brokaw criticized on “Meet The Press.”
“Look, I think George Clooney is a great guy. I’d like to meet Charlize Theron,” Brokaw said in 2012. “But I don’t think the big press event in Washington should be that kind of glittering event where the whole talk is about Cristal champagne, taking over the Italian Embassy, who had the best party (and) who got to meet the most people.”
In another sign of the event’s controversial image, the New York Times and its reporters won’t be attending, a spokesman confirmed.
In 2011, then Washington bureau chief and now managing editor for news, Dean Baquet, told the New York Observer that the event “had evolved into a very odd, celebrity-driven event that made it look like the press and government all shuck their adversarial roles for one night of the year, sing together (literally, by the way) and have a grand old time cracking jokes. It just feels like it sends the wrong signal to our readers and viewers, like we are all in it together and it is all a game. It feels uncomfortable.”
This year’s weekend of Washington activities kicks off Friday with a Creativity Conference sponsored by the Motion Picture Association of America, ABC News and Microsoft that includes speeches and panel discussions featuring Vice President Joe Biden, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production president Sean Bailey and filmmaker and producer Morgan Spurlock.
At the correspondents’ dinner itself, the guest lists TheWrap obtained already included a Who’s Who of entertainment, sports and of course politics and several media companies. CNN, Politico, and Bloomberg haven’t made their lists public just yet.
USA Today is hosting Dawson, Pinto, Simpson, Goldblum, Josh Gad, Taylor Schilling and Uzo “Crazy Eyes” Aduba of “Orange is the New Black.”
CBS News’ celebrity guests include Margulies of “The Good Wife,” McCallum of “NCIS,” country star Brad Paisley, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, both Gloria and Emilio Estefan, and director Spike Jonze.
ABC News’ guests include “Scandal’s” Goldwyn, Bellamy Young and Darby Stanchfield; from “Nashville” Hayden Panettiere and Chip Esten; and from “Modern Family” Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Vergara.
NBC News is bringing actor-comedian Kevin Hart, and model actress Eniko Parrish, will.i.am, American snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, UN Ambassador Samantha Power and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.
And the Washington Post’s guests this year include “Doonesbury” creator Garry Trudeau, who is also writer and producer for Amazon’s “Alpha House.”