With the Toronto Film Festival less than a month away, awards season pre-game was in full swing at the downtown Los Angeles premiere of "Lee Daniels' The Butler" on Monday. And that's just what Oprah Winfrey was determined to stay focused upon.
The mega-mogul made headlines last week after sharing an experience with racism at an upscale boutique in Zurich wherein the clerk refused to show her a handbag, telling her she couldn't afford its $38,000 price tag. Unfortunately, the tale created something of a media frenzy ― Swiss tourism officials even issued a public apology ― Oprah didn't intend and feels surprisingly guilty for.
"I think that incident in Switzerland was just an incident in Switzerland. I'm really sorry that it got blown up," she told the Associated Press. "I purposefully did not mention the name of the store. I'm sorry that I said it was Switzerland … It was not an indictment against the country or even that store. It was just one person who didn't want to offer me the opportunity to see the bag. So no apologies necessary from the country of Switzerland."
Instead, Oprah put on her party shoes and a hot pink dress and joined fellow cast members Forest Whitaker, Minka Kelly, James Marsden, Alex Pettyfer, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding Jr., and director Lee Daniels for her film's screening sponsored by FIJI. Other special guests included Russell Simmons along with newlyweds Jimmy Kimmel and Molly McNearney.
Harvey Weinstein introduced the movie shortly after 8 p.m. when he playfully began by thanking Warner Bros. and the MPAA for "the best title fight" he'd seen in some time (if you need a refresher, the studio war was eventually settled when the Weinstein Co. agreed change the title of their film "The Butler" to "Lee Daniels' The Butler").
As Oprah took her seat inside the venue, she laughed as Weinstein joked to the crowd how the media mogul said she was going to "kill him" earlier for making her do 52 press interviews in one day.
Clearly, everyone was in good spirits as the festivities began!
Following the two-hour film, the cast and special guests joined Daniels in the front row to thank everyone involved. The audience gave a standing ovation as credits rolled.
The celebration wasn't over as the after-party continued at the WP24 restaurant at the JW Marriott Hotel at L.A. Live.
At the bash, Minka was joined by boyfriend Chris Evans and spent quality time chatting it up with Marsden. Meanwhile, Oprah (with tons of security, of course) held court alongside Whitaker and Gooding before the cast all rendezvoused for a few additional photo ops.
Guests enjoyed shrimp toast, chicken dumplings, and spring rolls while sipping on Bud Light and Red Bull in champagne.
"Lee Daniels' The Butler" hits theaters this Friday.
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- Lee Daniels
- Oprah Winfrey
- Minka Kelly
- Forest Whitaker
- James Marsden
- Alex Pettyfer