AFI Life Achievement Award: Sir Sean Connery

Sir Sean Connery has been selected by the American Film Institute’s Board of Trustees to receive the 34th AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film.

Sir Sean Connery is an international film icon. Though best remembered for creating one of the great film heroes of all time, his talents transcend typecasting, and his body of work not only stands the test of time, but illuminates a career more extraordinary than James Bond himself. Sir Sean is an artist of the highest order, and AFI is honored to present him with its 34th Life Achievement Award.” ~ Sir Howard Stringer, chair, AFI Board of Trustees

The award will be presented to Connery at a gala tribute in Los Angeles on June 8, 2006. USA Network will broadcast the 34th AFI Life Achievement Award tribute later in June.

This is an excellent honor for Sir Sean Connery and rightfully deserved. He is my favorite James Bond (followed closely by Pierece Brosnan). Other great Connery films include: Robin and Marian, The Man Who Would Be King, A Bridge Too Far, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Hunt for Red October, and the film for which he won an Academy Award, The Untouchables.

A Well-Deserved Honor

This is very good news!

Director Robert Altman is joining the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Sidney Lumet, Blake Edwards, Cary Grant, Arthur Miller, and Greta Garbo. Like these other legends he is receiving his lifetime achievement award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences without having ever won a competitve Oscar. (Don’t even get me start on this topic!)

The ballot was cast Tuesday night by the Academy’s board of governors and Altman was informed on Wednesday. In a statement to the press, Academy President Sid Ganis declared that Altman is a “master filmmaker [who] well deserves this honor.”

M*A*S*H, Nashville, The Player, Short Cuts and Gosford Park are the five films that have earned Altman seven Oscar nominations, five for Best Director. It was 1970’s M*A*S*H, a black comedy set during the Korean War, that established Altman as a top-notch director. But it was 2001’s Gosford Park that became Altman’s most accessible and successful films at the box office. At age 80, Altman is still working with A Prarie Home Companion, starring Meryl Streep and Lindsay Lohan (it can’t get much better than that) due out later this year.

Directors Guild Award

Clint Eastwood is the recipient of the 2006 Directors Guild of America Lifetime Achievement Award. Eastwood has previously received lifetime achievement awards from the American Film Institute, the Film Society at Lincoln Center and SAG, among others. He also has been honored with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Eastwood is being recognized for his distinguised career behind the camera which includes two Academy Awards for Best Director.

As one of the most prolific, versatile directors in the history of the medium, there isn’t a genre that Clint Eastwood hasn’t mastered in the more than 25 films he has directed over the past 35 years,” DGA president Michael Apted said. “His ongoing body of work continues to touch generations of moviegoers and bring huge audiences into movie theaters. He does it all with great class, intelligence and style.”

Eastwood will be honored at the 58th annual DGA Awards on January 28.

This award is more prestigious than other lifetime achievement awards. The honor was first presented in 1958 to Cecil B. DeMille and has only been presented 31 times. Other recipients of the DGA Lifetime Achievement Award include Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, Woody Allen, Billy Wilder, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Capra and John Ford. Most recently, Mike Nichols was honored in 2004.

Eastwood’s Unforgiven received the DGA Award for directorial achievement in 1993 as well as four Academy Awards, including Best Director. He was again nominated for the DGA Award and Academy Award for directing in 2004 for Mystic River.

Congrats to Clint Eastwood who still has it.

Some Thoughts on the Cecil B DeMille Award

Let me begin by saying that I’m not angry. I’m just a little ticked and mostly curious.

On Wednesday, the 2006 recipiant of the Cecil B. DeMille Award was announced as Sir Anthony Hopkins. (Better than 2005 winner Robin Williams, I think.) Sir Anthony Hopkins is one of the greatest living actors. In The Silence of the Lambs, Amistad, A Bridge Too Far, The Lion in Winter etc., he delivers excellent performances and he rightfully deserves the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

The Cecil B DeMille Award is the lifetime achievement award given annually by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (aka the Golden Globes). Past winners include Walt Disney, Bette Davis, Jimmy Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock, Jack Lemmon, Sophia Loren, Al Pacino, and Audrey Hepburn. The only requirement to receive this honor is “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment” to an internationally recognized and respected name.

I have nothing against most of the past winners (except Barbara Streisand, who I absolutely abhor). To me it just seems as though certain actors were snubbed and other actors have received the award too early.

My question is simple. Why didn’t Katharine Hepburn or Cary Grant ever receive this award? (I know the reason, if you’re curious. I’m afraid that if I go into it, I’ll never stop complaining.) Barbara Streisand (again YUCK!) has. Meryl Streep has yet to be awarded. Joan Crawford, Charlton Heston, Robert Redford, all have received it. Neither Warren Beatty nor Spencer Tracy nor Grace Kelly nor Gary Cooper nor Clark Gable nor Marlon Brando. Where’s Vivien Leigh, Claudette Colbert, or one of the Barrymores? In 1976, the award wasn’t presented at all.

Robin WIliams Receives the Cecil B DeMille Award in 2005

I realize that my bitterness is kind of pointless. Not everyone who deserves something gets it. I just keep< reminding myself that it is only the Golden Globes and that it’s the Academy Awards that matter. But if Meryl Streep doesn’t receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award soon and Tom Cruise does then I will be so angry that I won’t know what to do with myself.

What is your take on this? Who do you want to see receive the Cecil B. DeMille award? Am I overreacting? Sound off below.

An AFI Fest Tribute to Johnny Depp

I found this to be exciting although it may be a little too soon. Achievement awards and career tributes should come towards the end of a career (not that Johnny Depp is undeserving by any means.)

AFI FEST is an annual event. This year it is November 3 -13 in Los Angeles.

AFI FEST 2005 presented by Audi has selected actor Johnny Depp as this year’s tributee. The Tribute to Johnny Depp will take place at ArcLight Hollywood on Friday, November 11, 2005, followed by the World Premiere of The Weinstein Company’s The Libertine, starring Depp, Samantha Morton and John Malkovich, as part of the Festival’s Special Screening series. The film is director Laurence Dunmore’s directorial debut.

Johnny Depp will make a rare appearance in a lively on-stage conversation with acclaimed film critic, commentator and author Richard Schickel. The Tribute will also include a career montage, and a series of clips that will take a close look at the work and art of this singular, stylish performer. The Tribute is made possible through a collaborative partnership with the Skirball Cultural Center. With special thanks to Montblanc and Media Partner LA Weekly.

Johnny is a brilliant and truly unique actor, whose remarkable career has been defined by its diversity and veracity. The originality of both the characters he has portrayed and the films he has made, further emphasize his integrity and passion” , says Laurence Dumore, director of The Libertine. “I am delighted Johnny is being honored by AFI FEST.

The Libertine stars Depp as history’s notorious enfant terrible, the Earl of Rochester. Rochester was a man of many contradictions: an anti-monarchist Royalist who was the friend confident of British King Charles II (played by John Malkovich in the film); an atheist who converted to Christianity; and a poet and pornographer in Restoration-era Britain. The film follows how Rochester’s famous cynicism is thrown for a loop when he falls in love with a struggling young actress (Morton).

Johnny’s character in The Libertine is multifaceted and he conveys the complexities with brilliance,” says Harvey Weinstein. “He is a true master and his performance in this film is outstanding.”

Johnny Depp is one of the most versatile and compelling actors working in contemporary world cinema. His ability to recognize and then whole-heartedly immerse himself in memorable film roles has made him the rarest of movie stars– simultaneously iconoclastic yet eminently bankable–a true original. Pivotal performances in films as diverse as Cry Baby, Edward Scissorhands, What’s Eating Gilber Grape?, Ed Wood, Donnie Brasco, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Don Juan Demarco, Before Night Falls, Blow, Chocolat, and Once Upon a Time in Mexico make his matinee idol good looks almost incidental to his work as a great actor.

More recently, Pirates of the Carribean, Finding Neverland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the daring The Libertine, have earned Depp a new legion of fans and made him more in demand than ever, with a slew of new projects in the pipeline.

As part of the Tribute, AFI FEST 2005 will also screen a retrospective of four of Depp’s films during the ten day festival: Dead Man(Jim Jarmusch; 1995), Edward Scissorhands (Tim Burton; 1990), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Terry Gilliam; 1998), and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (Lasse Hallström; 1993).


To go to AFI FEST has been one of my dreams for the past few years. If only I had money, and a job, and didn’t depend on my parents for my survival, then maybe I would go to California and go to AFI FEST.