Beatty, a longtime supporter of Brown, called the Democratic governor the "most astute governor in the nation," while Brown called Beatty "somebody I've been talking to and arguing with for decades."
Brown told reporters the annual Hall of Fame event is important to honor Californians who have made significant contributions to the state.
"Tonight is just letting California express itself and its many personalities," the third-term governor said.
Behind Beatty and Brown came Joe Montana, and a cheer went up.
The football star shrugged off a question about Brown.
"Everybody must like him," Montana said. "He's back again, right?"
Montana, unlike Beatty, stays out of politics. He said he wasn't going to get into it now.
"I've been hit in the head a lot," he said, "but not that many times."
Inside the event, Brown lauded a lesser known inductee, the late anthropologist and social scientist Gregory Bateson.
While governor before from 1975 to 1983, Brown appointed Bateson to the University of California board of regents. In his speech tonight, Brown suggested his distaste for standardized tests goes back at least that far.
"There was a vote in 1977 on the Board of Regents, and the question was, 'Should the University of California system for the first time require SAT test scores as a condition of entry?'" Brown said. "And since I never did that well on those kind of tests, I was definitely against that."
Brown said it was a close vote but that, "Gregory Bateson and I were on the losing side."
PHOTO CREDIT: Warren Beatty and his wife, Annette Benning, walk by fans entering the California Museum in Sacramento as he, Joe Montana, Dolores Huerta, Charles and Ray Eames, Gregory Bateson, Ishi and the Warner Brothers were inducted into the California Hall of Fame on March 20, 2013. José Luis Villegas / Sacramento Bee