Beatifying Beatty

Hollywood icon honored by AFI

Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Diane Keaton, Faye Dunaway and Robert Downey Jr. were among the stars who graced the Kodak Theater stage Thursday to toast and slightly roast their friend, Warren Beatty, as he received the 36th AFI Life Achievement Award.

Of course, the test of true friendship may have been sitting through the more-than-four-hour kudofest waiting for the man of the night to finally take the stage.

The big question of the night — would the Lakers game end in time for Jack Nicholson to make an appearance — was answered at 10:37 p.m. when Nicholson strolled on stage and put on a brave face despite the Lakers loss. “You may wonder why I call him a pro,” Nicholson said of Beatty, “What else are you going to call a guy that’s won more awards than he has made pictures?”

Along with his screen work — “Reds,” “Heaven Can Wait,” “Bulworth” and “Shampoo,” among others titles, were all highlighted in clip form (they even kept “Ishtar” in the mix) — Beatty’s work in politics was well represented by guests such as George McGovern, Jerry Brown and Gary Hart.

But the standing ovation was reserved for Bill Clinton, who told the aud, “I saw ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ and it made me feel grateful that I had found a less lethal way to escape rural poverty and obscurity. I later learned it was only slightly less lethal.” He also heaped praise upon “Heaven Can Wait,” saying he loved the film because, “it was the first time in my life that I realized that sometimes you do get second chances and later on I realized how much we all need them.”Beatty lapped up the lauds while sitting next to wife Annette Bening and sister Shirley MacLaine.

“Somebody told me that tonight would put me back in psychoanalysis but I think they are wrong,” said Beatty. “This night is psychoanalysis,”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Inside the Spider-Man Split: Finger-Pointing and Executive Endgames

    Spider-Man’s neighborhood has been decidedly unfriendly this week. A private and contentious battle over the onscreen future of the beloved Marvel superhero has spilled out into the public square over the past few days. After making nice for two wildly successful films, Sony Pictures, which holds the licensing rights to the Marvel character, will go [...]

  • Variety Announces 10 Actors to Watch

    Variety Announces 10 Actors to Watch for 2019

    Variety has announced its 10 Actors to Watch for 2019, an honor the publication has bestowed since 1998. Past honorees include many future Oscar winners and nominees, such as Mahershala Ali, Timothée Chalamet, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Brie Larson, Lupita Nyong’o and Melissa Leo. This year’s honorees will be feted in the Oct. 27 issue of [...]

  • August Maturo

    Film News Roundup: August Maturo to Star in Horror Movie 'Slapface'

    In today’s film news roundup, August Maturo gets a starring role and “Death of Me” and “Fatale” find homes. CASTING “Girl Meets World” star August Maturo has been cast as the lead character in the upcoming indie horror feature, “Slapface.” Maturo will play a boy who deals with the loss of his mother by creating [...]

  • Taron Egerton, Lucy Boynton to Star

    Taron Egerton, Lucy Boynton to Star in Virtual Reality Project 'Glimpse'

    Taron Egerton and Lucy Boynton will star in “Glimpse,” a new virtual reality experience that will be unveiled at the Venice Film Festival. Written and directed by Benjamin Cleary and VR creator Michael O’Connor, “Glimpse” will be entered in the Venice Virtual Reality Interactive showcase. It’s set in the imaginative mind of a heartbroken panda, [...]

  • Dan Trachtenberg

    Tom Holland's 'Uncharted' Movie Loses Director

    Dan Trachtenberg has exited the director’s chair for Sony’s “Uncharted” movie starring Tom Holland, with the studio taking meetings with top filmmakers and production starting early next year. The studio confirmed Trachtenberg’s departure Thursday. It also said Sony-based PlayStation Productions — headed by Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan — had come on to produce alongside [...]

  • Participant Taps Anikah McLaren, Robert Kessel

    Participant Taps Anikah McLaren, Robert Kessel to Head Film Department

    Participant Media has named industry veterans Anikah McLaren and Robert Kessel as co-heads of the company’s film department with the titles of executive vice president. Both executives will report together to Participant CEO David Linde, who made the announcement Thursday. McLaren joins Participant having most recently served as a production executive for Fox Searchlight Pictures. [...]

  • 'The Son' Review: Bosnian Family Drama

    Sarajevo Film Review: 'The Son'

    It is a mixed blessing to be born in the aftermath of a war. On the one hand, you never have to experience the terror and suffering your parents did; on the other, you grow up with your own personal crises forever made to feel smaller by comparison. That, at least, is the frustration driving [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content