De Niro will be presented with the award on Jan. 3 as part of the annual 10 Directors to Watch brunch presented by AT&T. Todd Phillips will also receive the Creative Impact in Directing Award.
“Robert De Niro is one of cinema’s greatest actors, and his recent collaboration with Martin Scorsese in ‘The Irishman’ is a career-best,” Variety‘s editor-in-chief Claudia Eller said. “De Niro embodies Frank Sheeran from a 20 something-year-old man to an elderly man in a nuanced performance that has resonated with audiences and critics alike. We are so glad to be giving him this award at our event.”
De Niro stars alongside Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, portraying the hustler and hitman Frank as he works alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th century. As the story spans Frank’s life, it explores the great mysteries surrounding the disappearance of union boss leader Jimmy Hoffa. De Niro’s portrayal earned the film four Golden Globes nominations, as well as the best film of the year award from the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle.