Describing herself as a “girl from Georgia who wanted to be in movies,” Julia Roberts stood before a packed ballroom at the Waldorf Astoria Sunday.
She thanked the American Museum of the Moving Image for choosing her as its honoree for its 16th annual salute. “I am proof positive anything is possible,” Roberts said.
James Gandolfini, her co-star in “The Mexican,” admitted he had written a poem for Roberts the night before but opted at the last minute to just say a few words. “I was enamored,” Gandolfini said of his first meeting with Roberts. “She’s one of the good ones.”
A slew of colleagues and friends took turns at the podium to offer congratulations and introduce film clips of Roberts’ work. Helmer Steven Soderbergh, who directed Roberts in “Erin Brockovich,” said, “Going to work with Julia on ‘Erin’ was instructive and inspiring.”
Following a clip from “Step-Mom,” Susan Sarandon said: “I congratulate you for being a grownup and trying to be responsible and a good person. And for trying to have a life outside of your career.”
Among those honoring Roberts were AMMI chairman Jeff Berg and executive director of the AMMI Rochelle Slovin, plus Lauren Bacall, Benjamin Bratt, Nora Ephron, John Leguizamo, Dermot Mulroney, Nick Pileggi, Tim Robbins, Diane Sawyer, Hilary Swank and “Mexican” helmer Gore Verbinksi.