The "Jaws" director and the "Nine to Five" singer each stood by during Sunday's ceremony in Washington as several celebrities took to the stage to sing the honorees' praises, The Washington Post said.
While both Hanks and Neeson joked about Spielberg's demanding style and boyish charm, actress Reese Witherspoon offered one of the event's more stirring moments by detailing how she met Parton, the paper said.
"I stepped into this temple of country music, awed and moved, and there standing, a surprise orchestrated by friends, was Dolly Parton," Witherspoon explained to the singer. "I burst into tears. And in that moment that followed you didn't get in the way of all my tears, you stretched out your arms and I came to you, and you just said, while you were hugging me tight, 'I'm just happy to be here with you.'"