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zondag 20 januari 2013

Inauguration Day: Who's Going, Who's Not

Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Sony CEO Michael Lynton won't be on hand to watch Barack Obama's second swearing in. Neither will Spike Lee, Dustin Hoffman, Denzel Washington, Ben Affleck or Samuel L. Jackson.

Those notable names in entertainment were among the 1.8 million people who swarmed the National Mall in 2009 to watch the first African-American president take the oath of office. But with that history already made, turnout at the second inauguration is expected to be much lighter. Even though high-profile supporters including Beyoncé, and Harvey Weinstein are expected to attend, many won't make the trek from Hollywood to the nation's capital.

It doesn't help that Monday's ceremony coincides with the Sundance Film Festival, or that the industry's mood may be more somber this time around because of the Newtown, Conn., shootings a month ago.

“Sequels rarely have the luster of the originals,” Mike Cornfield, a political science professor at George Washington University, told TheWrap. "Add to that the downbeat mood in the aftermath of the Newtown massacre -- an event that the entertainment industry is being indirectly blamed for -- and it's no wonder that the Hollywood presence will be smaller and quieter than in 2009."

Not that Hollywood is abandoning the Commander in Chief: Among those who will be there for Obama, Part 2 are Presidential Inaugural Committee co-chairwoman Eva Longoria, Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis, "Bold and the Beautiful" producer Colleen Bell and BET CEO Debra Lee

So will "The Wire" veteran Wendell Pierce, Jessica Alba, Malin Akerman, "White Collar" actor Matt Bomer and political-consultant-to-the stars Donna Bojarsky.

One of the night's hottest tickets is the Creative Coalition’s Inaugural Ball. The nonprofit advocacy organization for arts and entertainment has held its biggest fundraiser on Inauguration Day for the last 15 years. Guests expected this year include Tim Daly, Johnny Galecki, Paula Abdul, Melissa Leo, John Leguizamo, Marlon Wayans, David Arquette, Taraji P. Henson, Alan Cumming and Evan Handler. The Goo Goo Dolls will perform.

They can expect more elbow room in Washington than people had in 2009. The Associated Press reports that attendance is expected to drop by at least a million, with city officials predicting between 600,000 and 800,000 spectators at Monday's spectacle. (Because Inauguration Day falls on a Sunday, Obama will be privately sworn in then, before taking the oath publicly on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.)

Even Obama seems to understand that people might not find him so novel anymore.