Wednesday, November 15, 2017


There was so much affection for the Amy Adams, recipient of the 31st American Cinematheque Award (presented this year by GRoW @ Annenberg), on November 10th at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, that one expected the audience to break out in the classic tune “Once in Love with Amy.”

Amy Adams holding the 31st American Cinematheque Award. Photo by John Sciulli / Getty Images

“She is generous, warm, and full of risk,” effused Jake Gyllenhaal who appeared with Adams last year in Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals.

So in short, he added, “Tonight we honor a unicorn. Amy’s a mind-bending study in versatility. Amy is a great friend, a supportive colleague and according to her husband Darren, she is a good wife and mother too. I truly hope we get to work together again sometime, some day.”

The 43-year-old actress, who earned Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominations for 2005’s Junebug, 2008’s Proof, 2010’s The Fighter, 2012’s The Master, and lead actress for 2013’s American Hustle, wasn’t the only one feted Friday evening.

Director Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk) presented the Sid Grauman Award Sponsored by Hill Valley,to Richard Gelford and Greg Foster on behalf of IMAX. The lauded filmmaker has worked in IMAX for over a decade, pushing the large format innovator, to avail their technology to feature filmmakers.

Director Christopher Nolan poses with this year's Sid Grauman Award Recipients, IMAX's Greg Foster and Richard Gelfond. Photo by John Sciulli / Getty Images  
Nolan recalled first seeing IMAX at age 16, when a friend “dragged” him to see a documentary called “To Fly.” “I sat there in front of this enormous screen, the biggest screen I'd ever seen, and experienced this amazing sense of immersion. Flying over some incredible landscapes.” It wasn’t until 2005 with Batman Begins that Nolan realized his dream of shooting a Hollywood feature in IMAX, a large format that until then had been used exclusively for museum documentaries and theme parks. “Rich Gelfond and Greg Foster who had the vision, had the tenacity, to try to figure out a way of getting this extraordinary technology that existed in this one form, and find a way to make it practical to use in the marketplace,” said Nolan.

In his acceptance speech, Gelfond acknowledged being honored to be party of Sid Grauman’s big screen exhibition legacy and he mentioned still finding Nolan a pleasure to work with, even though the director neglected to tell IMAX that the cameras he strapped onto British Spitfires for a scene in Dunkirk were not insured.

Foster and Gelfond with Eric Nebot of Hill Valley, sponsor of the Sid Grauman Award. Photo by John Sciulli / Getty Images 
A glittering roster of Adams' friends and collaborators turned out in person to toast her: Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals), Tom Hanks (Catch Me If You Can and Charlie Wilson's War), Chris Messina (Julie and Julia), Natalie Portman, Kristen Stewart (On The Road), Justin Timberlake (Trouble With the Curve) and Denis Villeneuve (Arrival). Sending pre-taped greetings were Gal Gadot (Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice), Steve Carrell (a forthcoming untitled Dick Cheney biopic), Jeremy Renner (American Hustle, Arrival), Shawn Levy (Arrival producer, Night at the Museum 2 director) and director Adam McKay (Talladega Nights and the aforementioned Cheney biopic).

It was only Justin Timberlake, her love interest in the 2012 Clint Eastwood film Trouble With the Curve, who was willing to admit that Adams may not be picture perfect.

Justin Timberlake praises Amy Adams for her "monster" karaoke skills. Photo by Paul Smith

“Let the record show, that woman sitting right over there looking all sweet and innocent with the face of an all-American angel turns into a whole new person - a beast, in fact - when she gets anywhere near a karaoke machine. One night, when we were in Atlanta, Georgia with THE Dirty Harry - who you’d think would be scary enough - she pretty much bullied me into singing ‘A Whole New World’ from Aladdin. The last thing I can remember after one, two, five tequilas, is Amy staring me down and telling me ‘We’re doing this.’ Frankly, this side of Amy is still frightening to me. I wake up in a cold sweat sometimes feeling like I’m not going to be the Aladdin that she wanted me to be.”

Tom Hanks started off the Adams tribute telling the crowd the award was being presented to a woman “who has been on a butt-kicking journey into the hearts of America for quite some time now.”

Tom Hanks said acting with Amy Adams is "getting lost in her talent." Photo by John Sciulli / Getty Images

He related the first time he worked with her on Steven Spielberg’s 2002 hit Catch Me If You Can.

“She was an unknown,” Hanks said. “She was a no-name, nothing newcomer. She was playing a character named Brenda Strong. Everyone on the film was all asking the same question over and over: ‘Who is the woman playing Brenda Strong? Who is that? Where did the woman playing Brenda Strong come from? What food did they feed Brenda Strong as a child to turn her into Brenda Strong?”’

As Brenda Strong, Hanks added "she was a dream. I was lost in her face, in her eyes and her performance.”

The second time was in Mike Nichol’s 2007 Charlie Wilson's War. “By that time Amy was well on her glory road. “

French/Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049), who directed Adams in last year’s multi-Oscar-nominated the sci-fi drama Arrival, informed the audience that she ”broke our hearts bringing to the screen authenticity and humanity that just resonated with union around the world. I understand that in events like tonight, it is welcome to roast the honoree. I am sorry. I don’t know how to do it with Amy. She’s an angel to me. You don’t roast angels. “

Natalie Portman, who hasn’t worked with Adams, got to know her when they were on movie award campaign trails together.

Natalie Portman expresses how much she hopes to act with Amy Adams one day. Photo by Paul Smith  

“The best thing about getting to be part of the campaign trail is spending time with fellow actresses, which we never get the chance to do in work,” she said. “Amy has been the most treasured companion the few times I've gotten to experience it."

Adams, she said, told her something that has stayed with her over the years – “it’s so difficult being an actress because you have to have such a thick skin with all the things that people say to you, and then you have to have such a thin skin when you’re working and being so vulnerable. She somehow maintains that incredible vulnerability that moves me every time I see it.”

After Michael Shannon, (who appeared with Adams in Man of Steel, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Nocturnal Animals) presented the award to the actress, she gave her thanks not only to the American Cinematheque but to those who appeared in the award show on her behalf.

Michael Shannon was chosen to present Amy Adams with the 31st Annual American Cinematheque Award. Photo by Paul Smith

“I worked with Tom Hanks,” she noted. “I was brand new. He was so gracious. He set a beautiful tone on the set.”

"Jake Gyllenhaal… I would love to work with you again and that isn’t a secret."

(To Denis Villeneuve) “Denis - you are a rare director. You’re so kind”

(To Justin Timberlake) “The thing I love about Justin is that his work ethic is amazing, and that’s one thing I always respect in people. “
Natalie Portman and Jake Gyllenhaal backstage. Photo: John Sciulli/Getty Images

(To Natalie Portman) “Natalie - it’s such a shame about your face,” Adams joked. “Just saying. I feel bad for you. I first got to know her through Mike Nichols whom I loved dearly and he loved Natalie dearly. He would tell me stories about Natalie. ‘His Natalie.’ I fell in love with her through his eyes.”

And finally, Adams talked about herself.

“I’ve had an opportunity to work with really amazing people,” Adams said told the appreciative crowd. “I’m really, really fortunate.” She went on to say, “Sometimes I question being an actress. I wonder if I’m doing enough.” Adams then said, “In times of doubt, I always ask people what they get out of movies, so today I asked my 7-year-old daughter." Her daughter, whom Adams called “amazing,” responded by saying, “They allow my imagination to grow and they make me feel like I’m dreaming even though I’m awake.” In closing, Adams said, “Thank you all tonight for making me feel like I’m living a dream even though I’m awake.”

Michael Shannon and Amy Adams with Regina and Gregory Annenberg Weingarten from Grow @ Annenberg. Photo by Paul Smith

Since 1986, the American Cinematheque has honored an individual currently making a contribution to the art of the moving picture, as its major fund-raising event. Previous honorees have include: Eddie Murphy (1986); Bette Midler (1987); Robin Williams (1988); Steven Spielberg (1989); Ron Howard (1990); Martin Scorsese (1991); Sean Connery (1992); Michael Douglas (1993); Rob Reiner (1994); Mel Gibson (1995); Tom Cruise (1996); John Travolta (1997); Arnold Schwarzenegger (1998); Jodie Foster (1999); Bruce Willis (2000); Nicolas Cage (2001); Denzel Washington (2002); Nicole Kidman (2003); Steve Martin (2004); Al Pacino (2005) George Clooney (2006), Julia Roberts (2007);Samuel L. Jackson (2008); Matt Damon (2010); Robert Downey Jr. (2011), Ben Stiller (2012), Jerry Bruckheimer (2013), Matthew McConaughey (2014), Reese Witherspoon (2015); and Ridley Scott (2016).

To raise further funds for the American Cinematheque, bid on a VIP gift bag signed by the attendees of the award show on Charity Buzz.

Amy Adams signs this year's Charity Buzz auction gift bag- all proceeds benefit our non-profit organization. Photo by John Sciulli.