Keeping to his image as a man of few but pithy words, Clint Eastwood spoke briefly in accepting an award from the Motion Picture Assn. of America following a posh dinner in D.C. attended by some high-powered industry types and politicos.
The evening capped a long day’s journey into the full extent of piracy as well as Hollywood’s importance to the U.S. economy. Not that anybody cared about that by dinner time.
Throngs of people just wanted to shake the star’s hand and have a cell phone-pic taken with him. Eastwood graciously obliged pretty much everyone. “I’m glad the MPAA is here and that the political community gets to learn about motion pictures,” a dapper Eastwood later said after receiving the award.
Using no notes or teleprompter, he thanked the org for presenting him with the first Jack Valenti Humanitarian Award, intended to honor those in the industry whose work reaches out “positively and respectfully” to other cultures, creeds and countries.
Although Eastwood has had conservative views in the past, on publicity tours for “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima,” he’s not shied away from expressing his opposition to the war in Iraq.
Awards like this tend to come late in life, a fact Eastwood slyly acknowledged by remarking to his longtime pal Valenti, “If I precede you, I promise I’ll give it back.”
The large number of guests in the newly rehabbed National Portrait Gallery — closed off for the event — included a bipartisan Who’s-Who of Congress: Sens. Dianne Feinstein, Max Baucus, John Sununu, Arlen Specter, Chris Dodd and Chuck Schumer along with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Reps. Henry Waxman, John Conyers, Howard Berman, John Dingell, Vince Fascella, Ed Markey, Diane Watson and James Sensenbrenner, among others.
Also in attendance: Brad Grey of Paramount, Peter Chernin of News Corp. and Ron Meyer of NBC Universal. Noting the late hour, Eastwood wrapped by saying, “Thank you again very much, and always support your local motion picture theater.”
—By William Triplett in Washington.