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Ben Stiller’s award malfunction

American Cinematheque fetes thesp

The highlight of the American Cinematheque’s gala is when the award is given to the honoree. However, there was a slight hitch Thursday night at the BevHilton when honoree Ben Stiller read out the name of last year’s honoree, Robert Downey Jr., which was imprinted on the plaque.

It turns out someone had dropped and broken the hardware the previous day, but Downey gallantly stepped in and allowed the org to present his prize to Stiller. Presenters Eugene Levy, Martin Short and Stiller had to include the aud in the joke, of course.

Short called Stiller “the ultimate hyphenate — a writer, director, actor, comedian and comedienne,” and Levy added, “As Gen. Petraeus said to Paula Broadwell, it is time to give this to you.”

Stiller said, “It’s nice to get an award for … nothing specific. Not one single great thing. Rick Nicita (Cinematheque topper) called me a renaissance man of comedy. That’s like a jack of all trades of carpenting.”

Still, he was not ungrateful. “I want to thank the Academy … some day.”

Not being televised freed the presenters to be a little more raunchy than usual. For example, Will Ferrell compared Stiller’s “classy dick” to “Paul Newman in ‘Hustler.’ ” There were also running jokes about William Shatner possibly being Stiller’s real dad. And Justin Theroux complained about putting together a video segment for which studios have to agree to release clips. “Jay Roach wants to know where the clip is going. You call Jeffrey Katzenberg for ‘Madagascar’ and he’s not answering calls because he’s organizing Joe Biden 2016. And studios charge because ever since DVDs went south this is a whole mini industry.”

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