×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Film Academy Pay Tribute to Richard Donner: ‘He’s a F—ing Genius’

Richard Donner‘s big heart — and bigger voice — commanded attention at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ tribute to the director-producer on Wednesday night in Beverly Hills.

“He has a voice that gets the attention of people getting on the bus two blocks away,” said John Savage, who appeared in Donner’s “Inside Moves.”

“You have brought us such joy and we love you for it,” said AMPAS President Cheryl Boone Isaacs at the opening of the tribute.

The two-hour program at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater mixed anecdotes with heartfelt tributes and clips from 1978’s “Superman: The Movie,” along with “The Omen,” the “Lethal Weapon” films, ” “Radio Flyer,” “The Goonies,” “Scrooged,” “Ladyhawke,” “Inside Moves,” and “Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut.”

DC Entertainment president Geoff Johns and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige — who both once interned for Donner — followed Boone Isaacs to the stage. The rivals expressed particular admiration for “Superman: The Movie” as setting the standard for superhero films, with Feige saying it’s still required viewing for him when he’s making greenlight decisions.

Johns also recounted having to explain to Donner that a car carrier had destroyed the producer’s vehicle on the Warner Bros. lot while Johns was at the wheel. He started by saying, “I think you’re going to fire me.”

He recalled that Donner blew it off since the vehicle had been a gift.

A trio of “Goonies” stars — Jeff Cohen, Ke Huy-Quan, and Corey Feldman — also offered tributes, with Cohen noting that he had asked Donner to write him a letter of recommendation for college. Donner agreed to that and even paid all his tuition fees.

“I’m grateful that I got to work on ‘The Goonies,’ but more grateful for his friendship,” said Cohen, who played Chunk in the movie.

Feldman choked up as he thanked Donner for picking up the cost of his drug rehab, adding, “I didn’t really have a father and Richard filled that spot.”

David Morse, Joseph Mazzello, Brian Helgeland, and Carol Kane also honored Donner. The evening also saw a re-teaming of “Lethal Weapon” stars Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, and Rene Russo. Glover told Gibson, “I forgive you for doing ‘Passion of the Christ’ without me in it.”

Gibson said of Donner, “There’s true humility about the man; he refers to himself as a traffic cop, but he’s a f—ing genius.”

Donner joined the trio on stage after footage of a bathroom explosion in “Lethal Weapon 2” and a make-out scene between Gibson and Russo in “Lethal Weapon 3.” Donner said he had prepared a speech, but found it inadequate in the face of all the tributes.

“I assume if I’m not around, it’s a totally different conversation,” he added. “From the heart, I love everyone who was up here. This industry is my friend. I love it. I never thought I’d say this, but I want to thank the Academy.”

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Chrissy TeigenBaby2Baby Gala, Arrivals, 3Labs, Los

    Chrissy Teigen Receives Giving Tree Award at 2019 Baby2Baby Gala

    Chrissy Teigen accepted the “Giving Tree” Award at the 2019 Baby2Baby Gala on Saturday with a speech chockful of her trademark humor and humility. Upon receiving a standing ovation, Teigen laughingly told the star-studded crowd to sit down, joking that she is more accustomed to receiving an accolade for “Best Titties” at the Spike TV [...]

  • Co-host Rita Moreno performs on stage

    Rita Moreno's Role in New 'West Side Story' Is More Than a Cameo: 'It’s a Real Part'

    During her live show, “An Evening with Rita Moreno,” Saturday night, Rita Moreno told the audience she will have a “real” role in next December’s “West Side Story” remake, which recently wrapped shooting, and that she initially had concerns about the film’s production. “At first, it was interesting when I heard there were rumors that [...]

  • Charlize Theron American Cinematheque

    Seth Rogen, Seth MacFarlane Roast Charlize Theron During Bawdy American Cinematheque Ceremony

    As Charlize Theron accepted the 33rd American Cinematheque honor at the Beverly Hilton on Friday night, the atmosphere more resembled a roast than a reverential evening celebrating the cinematic achievements of an Oscar winner. Presenters like Seth Rogen, Kristen Stewart and Seth MacFarlane shared bawdy jokes and reveals about what it’s really like working with [...]

  • Katie Couric

    Katie Couric Says Matt Lauer 'Ultimately Turned Out to Be Two Very Different People'

    Katie Couric discussed Matt Lauer, the Me Too movement and female leadership in business at the Dress for Success annual Women Who Inspire breakfast in New York City on Wednesday. Couric, who spoke during a fireside chat at the nonprofit’s female empowerment event, was asked about Lauer’s ouster from the “Today” show, and the many [...]

  • Tina Turner Musical

    Oprah Winfrey Joins Tina Turner for the Opening Night of 'Tina' Musical on Broadway

    On Thursday night in New York City, Tina Turner joined the ranks of Cher, Donna Summer, the Temptations and the Jersey Boys — Carole King, too — baptized, as it were, in the disco inferno of a high-powered Broadway jukebox. “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” joins a steady stream of bio-musicals bent on squeezing, often [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content