Celebrity wattage for the movie industry’s big confab in D.C. next week increased significantly Thursday with the announcement that Clint Eastwood will attend to accept the first Jack Valenti Humanitarian Award.
Just the day before, the Motion Picture Assn. of America, which is sponsoring the Feb. 6 event, announced that thesp Will Smith — like Eastwood, an Oscar nominee this year — will be a featured speaker. Major studio heads and directors will also be attending.
The new award, named after the longtime leader of the MPAA, will “be presented annually to an individual in the motion picture industry whose work has reached out positively and respectfully to all countries, creeds and cultures,” according to the org.
Eastwood’s “two acclaimed movies about World War II’s infamous battle at Iwo Jima present a remarkable work of looking at both sides of a moment in history, and providing a commentary on its impact in the lives of those who experienced it,” said MPAA topper Dan Glickman in a statement. “These films exemplify the true power of movies to tell human stories and inspire national conversation.”
Event, billed as “The Business of Show Business,” is aimed at letting Congress know how important the movie industry is to the U.S. economy.