3 feted at Israel fest gala

Liev Schreiber modestly shares stage

The Israel Film Festival kicked off its 25th anniversary by honoring an American legend, an Israeli trailblazer and Liev Schreiber — or at least that is how Schreiber saw it.

“I sincerely have no idea what I have done to warrant sharing a stage with Stanley Donen and Micha Shagrir,” he said in accepting the IFF Outstanding Achievement in Film Award at the Paris Theater.

Schreiber took the stage after being introduced by his partner, Naomi Watts, who was a last-minute fill-in. After warning the audience she might ramble, Watts did just that, prompting Schreiber to quip, “There is a reason why, generally speaking, your family and friends should not present you awards.”

Maybe that’s why Donen, accepting a lifetime achievement award, asked a friend with some emcee experience. When Phil Donahue took the stage, he did a brief song-and-dance number in homage.

“I dance with the umbrella every other day just to keep in practice,” Donahue joked at the Plaza Hotel beforehand, referring to Donen and Gene Kelly’s “Singin’ in the Rain.”

“There will never be another film like that,” he said. “It is the gold standard of the American film musical — bar none.” –