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Amy Adams Recognized for On-Screen ‘Magic’ at American Cinematheque Awards

Five-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams was feted by the American Cinematheque at its annual awards ceremony Friday night, and took the chance to remind everyone about the power of cinema to grow the imagination.

Adams was introduced by a string of A-list collaborators, headed off by her “Charlie Wilson’s War” co-star Tom Hanks, who was in a particularly playful mood.

Hanks’ introduction took the packed audience inside the Beverly Hilton Hotel ballroom along the “butt-kicking” adventure of Amy Adams’ career, going all the way from her brief stint working at Hooters to the wide-reaching Hollywood success she’s achieved today, through a “struggling actress in Hollywood montage,” which concluded with a brief Harvey Weinstein-related quip.

“Oh there, Amy is pulled into town. Oh, she’s found an apartment. Oh, she’s moving in. Oh, that couch isn’t gonna fit through the door. Oh, she’s reading the trade magazines. Oh, she’s working the telephones. Oh, she’s working on audition pieces. Oh, she’s auditioning, and auditioning, and auditioning. And oh no, she’s not gonna audition up in a hotel room,” Hanks joked, producing a loud groan from the room.

Hanks also gushed about Adams’ acting talent, referencing a scene from “Charlie Wilson’s War” to demonstrate how the actress is able to steal a scene and grasp the audience through the mere swish of her ponytail.

“There was a moment where the Steadicam was just following her down the hallway, it’s the best scene in the whole f—ing movie,” Hanks said. “She did something magical with the back of her head with her hair, she was acting with her hair. We ran it back and the next day, even the crafts guys were saying, ‘Did you see how she acted with her hair? How did she do that?’”

In her acceptance speech, Adams returned the compliments to Hanks. She explained that she spent most of her time filming “Charlie Wilson’s War” just trying not to mess up in front of him.

Referring to the famous ponytail scene, Adams revealed she has been able to do the trick for years. “I learned to do that in second grade, it’s how I thought I would get a boyfriend,” the actress said.

After responding in turn to the remaining panoply of A-list stars who had taken to the stage to recount their experiences of working with Adams, including her “Nocturnal Animals” co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon as well as Kristen Stewart, Natalie Portman, Justin Timberlake, Chris Messina, and “Arrival” director Denis Villeneuve, Adams ended her speech by revealing that though she still questions whether she should really be an actress, she recently turned to her seven-year-old daughter to remind her of the magic that she can bring to audiences.

“She said, ‘I like movies because they allow my imagination to grow, and they make me feel like I’m dreaming even though I’m awake.’ And I loved that,” Adams concluded. “I wanna thank you all tonight for making me feel like I’m living a dream even though I’m awake.”

The evening was also packed with clips of Adams’ most memorable performances, which were divided into her best drama moments, including an emotional “Doubt” scene opposite Meryl Streep, her key roles in sci-fi movies such as “Arrival,” her romantic highlights, including the climactic kiss from “Enchanted,” and finally her most critically acclaimed performances, including a highly-strung scene with Christian Bale from “American Hustle.”

Before Adams’ fanfare began, Christopher Nolan was on hand to present the Sid Grauman Award to IMAX chiefs Richard Gelfond and Greg Foster.

Nolan, who was one of the first directors to use IMAX cameras to shoot a movie with “The Dark Knight,” began by recounting an anecdote of his first-ever IMAX experience. Nolan was 16 years old and was at the theater watching a war movie with a friend, and at one point during the screening he turned around to see the audience’s heads all drift in unison with the strafing plane on screen. Many years later, Nolan turned around in an IMAX screening of “Dunkirk” to witness the same effect.

Gelfond explained how Nolan strapped the IMAX cameras to British spitfire planes to recreate dogfights for his most recent film “Dunkirk.” However, it turns out the cameras weren’t insured for such an ambitious piece of filming and Nolan had neglected to tell Gelfond and Foster about his ambitious plan for their technology.

Foster stated, “It goes without saying that if you’ve been lucky enough to have Chris Nolan designing ‘Dunkirk,’ ‘Interstellar’ and the ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy using IMAX DNA, being grateful is an understatement.”

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