Wednesday, October 19, 2016


The 30th Annual American Cinematheque Career Achievement Award gala Friday evening for influential British filmmaker Sir Ridley Scott was a love-in.

American Cinematheque Chairman Rick Nicita, Ridley Scott, previous American Cinematheque Award Recepient Matt Damon, and American Cinematheque President Marc Badagliacca. Photo by Albert Ortega

In fact, the evening should have been called “Everybody Loves Ridley.”

Hosted by Russell Crowe, who has worked five times with Scott including in the 2000 epic “Gladiator” for which the actor won his Oscar, the celebration at the Beverly Hilton Hotel Ballroom featured a who’s who of actors who have appeared in his movies including Sigourney Weaver (‘Alien”),  Matt Damon (“The Martian”),  Sir Ben Kingsley (“Exodus: Gods and Kings”); Katharine Waterston (“Alien: Covenant”); Noomi Rapace (“Prometheus”), Josh Hartnett (“Black Hawk Down”) and Kristen Wiig (“The Martian”),  who quipped that despite the heavy films Scott makes he’s such a wild and crazy guy off screen he’s known in Hollywood as “Giggly Scott.” 

Photos by Albert Ortega

The career achievement honor is the non-profit Cinematheque’s major event to raise funds for operating cost and year-long programs at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood and the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. And over the years, the Cinematheque has honored the likes of Eddie  Murphy, Robin Williams, Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Downey Jr., Al Pacino, Matt Damon, Bruce Willis, George Clooney and SAlamuel L. Jackson among others.

But none of the previous nominees have been a late bloomer like Scott, who turns 79 next month.  An acclaimed commercial director with his younger brother, the late Tony Scott, he didn’t make his first film until 1977’s “The Duelists,” which won the Best First Film Award at the Cannes Film Festival.

But it was his groundbreaking 1978 “Alien,” that put him on the map and made Sigourney Weaver a star, in the role of kickass astronaut Ripley. His next sci-fi film, 1982’s “Blade Runner,” was named to the National Film Registry in 1993.  He’s also earned three Oscar nominations for best director for 1991s “Thelma and Louise,” 2000s Gladiator,” which won the Oscar for best film, and 2001’s “Black Hawk Down.” “

Bradley Cooper and this year's Sid Grauman Award
recipient Sue Kroll. Photo by Eric Charbonneau
 But even before the love fest began for Scott, Sue Kroll was  honored by the likes of “The Dark Knight” filmmaker Christopher Nolan (who took a moment to let Ridley Scott know that his films led a young Nolan into wanting to become a filmmaker himself) and Bradley Cooper, with the second annual Sid Grauman Award, named after the founder of the Egyptian, Chinese and Million Dollar Theatres in Los Angeles. Grauman was also a pioneer in feature film exhibition.

A 22-year veteran of Warner Brothers Pictures, Kroll, who was described as “the Bruce Springsteen of marketing,” by colleague Toby Emmerich, was named President, Worldwide Marketing, Warner Bros. Pictures in 2008. Kroll, who is the daughter of the late renowned film critic Jack Kroll, oversees oversees the creation and implementation of the studio’s  international marketing campaigns.

Cooper, who gave the award to Kroll, referred to her as the “marketing whisperer” who has turned the process of “releasing a film into an art form.”

Kroll told the crowd that receiving the honor was “really a little bit overwhelming.”

She credited her parents for her love of films and became emotional when she remembered working with Curtis Hanson, who recently died, on the campaign for his Oscar-winning 1997 film noir “L.A. Confidential.

Despite kicking off with a crude reference to Donald Trump’s infamous tape, Crowe was an affable host.

“At this point it’s very clear that Ridley Scott is a filmmaker with the talent to do anything he wants in any genre you care to mention,” said Crowe.

Scott, noted Crowe, “not only knows the language of film, he speaks all of its dialects. He speaks camera, editing, grip, gaffer, hair, makeup, all of those things-and he’s getting better at speaking actor.. He is so organized; he can create time.  I’m very proud to call you a friend”

Photos by Eric Charbonneau 
The evening featured a plethora of film clips from his films divided into such topics as heroes, heroines, the past as well as his first film, a 1962 short he made while at the Royal College of Art starring his brother Tony, “Boy and Bicycle.”
Weaver said that she's asked all over the world if she and Scott knew “we were making a feminist film? Was this intentional? Well, yeah. But Ridley and I never talked about it.  It was just a given for Ridley that women were supremely capable, smart, courage, resourceful, monumental.

Wiig joked that in “The Martian,” Scott gave her two types of direction: “Can you try something else”? and “Please don’t do that anymore.”

Previous American Cinematheque Award Recipient Matt Damon and this year's honoree, Sir Ridley Scott. Photo by Albert Ortega

Damon, who earned a lead actor Oscar nomination this year for “The Martian,” presented Scott with the award. The veteran filmmaker talked about his childhood and what a difficult time he had in school. “I was trying really hard,” he said,

He may have struggled with English, science and math, but he understood the visual, which lead him to the Royal College of Art.

Filmmaking, Scott said, ‘is not work. It's a passion.”

Veteran journalist Susan King wrote about entertainment at the Los Angeles Times for 26 years (January 1990 - March 2016), specializing in classic Hollywood stories. She also wrote about independent, foreign and studio movies and occasionally TV and theater stories. She received her master's degree in film history and criticism at USC. After working 10 years at the L.A. Herald Examiner, she moved to the Los Angeles Times.