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If you saw a bunch of stars ducking into A.O.C. recently, there was a good reason.
President Barack Obama and his Higher Ground production company hosted back-to-back dinners the week of March 13 at the Brentwood hotspot, inviting a slew of Oscar winners, nominees and creative talent, according to multiple sources.
Joining Obama and Higher Ground execs Joe Paulsen and Tonia Davis were Oscar-winning Everything Everywhere All at Once duo Daniels (fresh from their best picture win), Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler (also riding high with the success of Creed III), Oscar winner Regina King, Janelle Monáe (featured in the Higher Ground-produced We the People), Colman Domingo (who stars in H.G.’s upcoming Rustin this fall), Better Things creator Pamela Adlon, Oscar-nominated writer and filmmaker Kemp Powers, Station Eleven creator Patrick Somerville, Maid creator and showrunner Molly Smith Metzler, and Quinta Brunson, the powerhouse Emmy Award-wining Abbott Elementary creator, showrunner and star.
Per an insider, Obama had no specific agenda for the dinners other than to gather those he and his team are either working with, have relationships with or are fans of for an intimate creative discussion. Higher Ground declined to comment.
The guest list won’t be a total surprise to those who have paid close attention to Obama’s buzzworthy year-end lists. For 2022, he included Daniels’ Everything Everywhere as one of his 17 favorite movies of the year. One of his favorite books of the year was Emily St. John Mandel’s Sea of Tranquility, the newest book from the Canadian author who also penned Station Eleven, which was adapted into the critically acclaimed HBO Max series. Obama also placed Maid on his top books list, the best-selling memoir from Stephanie Land served as the adaptation for the critically acclaimed Netflix hit. Both Smith Metzler and Obama’s Higher Ground are in overall deals at Netflix.
March 30, 1:43 p.m.: This story has been updated to include additional attendees at the dinners.
This story first appeared in the March 29 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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