Scorsese, who directed Driver in “Silence” opposite Andrew Garfield, was introduced to the stage, where he placed one of the festival’s Silver Medallions around the actor’s neck.
“What you see before you is a great actor, a great screen presence, whether it’s the HBO shows or whether it’s ‘BlacKkKlansman’ or ‘Paterson,’” Scorsese said, before teasing, “Even the film we made.”
He went on to praise Driver, as well as Garfield, for their dedication to their roles as 17th century Portuguese missionaries in “Silence.” Driver lost 51 pounds for the role. Scorsese recalled, “You and I think Andrew did the Spiritual Exercises of St. Francis Xavier [to get into character] and that itself is quite extraordinary.
Later, during a Q&A with NPR’s John Horn, a modest Driver insisted, “I don’t know anything. This whole tribute is a sham.”
Driver is likely to receive his second Oscar nomination for his work in “Marriage Story.” He and Scarlett Johansson star in writer-director Noah Baumbach’s drama as a couple navigating a nasty divorce.
The actor receives double billing at this year’s Telluride. In addition to “Marriage Story,” he also appears in “The Report,” writer- director Scott Z. Burns’ real-life political drama starring Driver as a U.S. senate staffer who investigated the CIA’s use of torture after 9/11. Annette Bening co-stars as California Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
“Marriage Story” made its North American premiere at the festival just a couple of days after receiving rave reviews at the Venice Film Festival.