Saturday evening’s Academy Governors Awards offered a warm and sometimes ribald time as Eli Wallach, Kevin Brownlow and Jean-Luc Godard received honorary Oscars and Francis Ford Coppola picked up the Thalberg Award.
Before the ceremony, Patricia Clarkson said she enjoyed the relaxed vibe: “I wore a dress I’ve worn before. Except I’ve arranged it in a different way. My publicist is going to kill me for saying that.”
Vincent Cassel, in town for the “Black Swan” preem and drafted to present Godard’s award, confessed he’d never worked with, met or spoken to Godard: “I guess it’s because I’m French. Even though he’s from Switzerland.”
The ceremony, as usual, turned into a bit of a roast. Haskell Wexler was among the Acad governors who spoke, remembering that Godard stayed at his house once for three days “and didn’t say four words.”
At the podium, Clint Eastwood noted that Wallach was the only surviving cast member of “Baby Doll” and “The Misfits,” and added, “I’m glad to say he’s one of two surviving cast members of ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.'”
Robert De Niro came to the podium twice. Saluting Wallach, he said, “I’m at the stage of my life and career when there’s nothing I like to see more than an even older actor.” Later he returned to rib Coppola, his “Godfather II” director, for being more of a winemaker than a filmmaker in recent years. Noting that Robert Parker had rated one Coppola wine only a 90, De Niro retorted, “Parker’s a dick.”