updated 01/12/2014 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 01/12/2014 AT 9:50 AM ET
Anderson Cooper promised his peers they would be wowed by Sean Penn’s third annual Help Haiti Home gala – and the journalist didn’t disappoint.
In a big show of support for the actor’s J/P Haitian Relief Organization, celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, Julia Roberts and Danny Moder and Kevin Bacon walked the red carpet on Saturday, mingling with each other and sharing a few laughs, before moving on to a cocktail hour inside the Montage Hotel.
“This town has been very supportive of me and, more importantly, what our organization is doing in Haiti,” Penn told PEOPLE. “I got a lot of gratitude and no complaints.”
But it’s a two-way street, Michael Douglas, who attended the event solo, told PEOPLE.
“I’m impressed with what he’s done with the Haitian relief. He’s not afraid to learn and be vulnerable,” said the actor, who recently returned from a Christmas vacation with his family in Quebec.
“Holidays were great,” he said. “We have a little farm in Canada we go to. … It was a little colder than Rocky Mountain skiing. A couple of minus-15 days.”
As for things with wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, “Everything s good with the family,” he said. We’re all good.”
Bette Midler said of Penn and the event, “Everybody’s a fan. But his intelligence, sense of humor and sense of idealism in the face of so many roadblocks and constraints – the fact he keeps going – is really inspirational to a lot of people. Sometimes you get exhausted and tired, he doesn’t.”
In between drinks and dinner – shaved apple and celery salad, prime filet mignon and Chilean sea bass – host Cooper kicked off the event with a video, highlighting the relief work done in Haiti, and a musical performance by Haitian Anaelle Jean-Pierre.