After the ball was over

“Making movies is either utopia or shoveling sh*t uphill,” Sean Connery kidded as he accepted his Life Achievement Award from the AFI at the Kodak Theater Thursday night. And Friday, producer Bob Gazzale and director Louis J. Horvitz were busy editing the live show by 18 minutes to air on the USA Network June 21.

Gazzale figured “we can use the ‘sh–‘ and edit out the ‘–it.'” Connery, in a humorous mood managed to repeat the word a couple of times in his closing words of appreciation. His arrival on stage to accept the award from (previous winner) Harrison Ford was preceded by a long stage wait as he composed himself. But, he said, “I had no idea this was such a big deal. But I’m glad you admired my work. It brought back some memories. My feet are tired but my heart is not.” Hs feet didn’t seem “tired” as he jigged to the sounds of bagpipers waiting him on stage. He closed by thanking the SRO hall “for a helluva evening.”

He and wife Micheline had received loving greetings from the showbiz elite all during the three-hour evening, which took place in the theater’s orchestra — converted to the banquet setting for the award show, as in the past.

Memorable moments which will not be edited from the air show will certainly be: Mike Myers — in kilt — making the opening remarks. Also Tom Jones warbling the “Thunderball” theme while Bond girls wiggled behind him. Plus remarks by Eddie Izzard, Ian McShane, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, James Earl Jones, Andy Garcia (from “The Untouchables”), Pierce Brosnan, Julia Ormand and Tippi Hedren who said “Sean, you gave us the world.” Loving film clips were supplied also by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Caine. A contemporary look at Connery was a seg in tribute to the new video game of “From Russia With Love” introduced by the glamourous Maria Menounos who voices “Eva” to Connery’s James Bond.

The AFI will be repped on TV before the Life Achievement Award show by the June 14th CBS “100 Years — 100 Cheers,” America’s most inspiring movies. Gazzale produces as does Gary Smith who also directs and who interviewed 43 guests. Sidney Poitier appears in five of the final favorite shows And Jane Fonda is seen in an emotional talk about her father, Henry — in a remembrance of “On Golden Pond,” natch. Next year will be the tenth in the series with “100 Years – 100 — ?”

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