UPDATED: Described by Spain’s San Sebastian Festival as “one of contemporary cinema’s most talented and versatile actors,” American actor Johnny Depp will receive San Sebastian’s highest honor, its Donostia Award, in a ceremony taking place on Sept. 22 at the festival’s Kursaal Auditorium.
Depp is already one of San Sebastian’s favorite sons, having figured as one of the highest profile star presences at last year’s on-site festival, where he co-presented “Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane McGowan” with director Julien Temple.
This year’s award puts Depp among recent honorees including Ethan Hawke, Sigourney Weaver, Judy Dench, Penelope Cruz and Viggo Mortensen.
Spain’s Association of Female Filmmakers and Audiovisual Media spoke out against the honor Tuesday, noting last year’s ruling by a British judge that allegations of domestic violence against Depp were “substantially correct.”
The association’s Christina Andreu told the Associated Press that the honor sends the message that “It doesn’t matter if you are an abuser as long as you are a good actor.”
Breaking out in the early 1990s with lead roles in John Waters’ “Cry Baby” and Tim Burton’s “Edward Scissorhands,” Depp secured work with foreign directors such as Emir Kusturica (“Arizona Dream”) and Lasse Hallström (“What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?”), repeated twice with Burton and worked with indie greats and mavericks such as Jim Jarmusch (“Dead Man”) and Terry Gilliam (“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”).
Depp’s star status was secured, however, by his out-there turn as Captain Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie saga from 2003 to 2017.
“Elaborately decked out with a bandana, raccoon-like black eye makeup, dreadlocks, two beard braids and lousy teeth,” Variety reported, and “frequently slurring his words but usually intelligible,” the “magnetic star” “puts one in mind of some of Marlon Brando’s more oddball screen outings.”