Annette Bening, Warren Beatty

AP Photo / Tammie Arroyo

It wasn't just politics as usual at the American Film Institute's tribute to Warren Beatty. Though, it was a little of that.

A laundry list of stars and politicians—including wife Annette Bening, sister Shirley MacLaine, Robert Downey Jr., Halle Berry, Dustin Hoffman, Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Quentin Tarantino, Bill Clinton, a pretaped John McCain and a post-Lakers-game Jack Nicholson—turned up for the 36th annual AFI Lifetime Achievement lovefest in Los Angeles Thursday night.

And while the ceremony itself may sound staid, the comments dished out were decidedly not...

Jane Fonda: "I thought he was gay. He was so cute, and all his men friends were gay, and brilliant. He had a way of collecting really brilliant gay men friends. And he liked to play piano in a piano bar—I mean, what were the odds he was straight? Shows you how dumb I was."

Halle Berry: "There was the usual discussion with the studio if there should be a scene to spice up [Bulworth]—if somebody should go topless. But I have to say, to Warren's credit, he put his foot down and insisted on keeping his shorts on for the entire movie."

Dustin Hoffman, on His Costarring Roles in Ishtar and Dick Tracy: "It's ironic that I'm here for the movies-that-bombed portion of the evening...Ishtar shall rise again!"

Hoffman, on Beatty's Initially Absent Lakers-Watching BFF, Jack Nicholson: "Rumor has it that he was going to try to combine the two. Rumor also has it that he might have been sitting courtside in a tuxedo."

A Fashionably Late Nicholson: "[Beatty] has received eight times as many awards as he's made pictures. You get all these honors because of your passion and your dedication to excellence. This is why I'm crazy about your work."

Bill Clinton: "Over all these decades, you have shared with us, as moviegoers, this insatiable hunger for life. That's what I think about when I think of you."

Warren Beatty: "I was a liberal when it was fashionable, I was a liberal when it was unfashionable, and I'm a liberal when it's coming back into style."

Beatty on Bening: "I love my profession because it's introduced me to the person who's given me the most important thing of all, which is her love and the love of our four children...Annette. I can thank the movies for leading me to you."

The 36th Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Warren Beatty, honoring the 47-year career of the 71-year-old star, airs June 25 on USA.

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