Ben Stiller Honored with American Cinematheque Award at Ceremony Attended by Black, Ferrell, Others (updated)
Ben Stiller was honored with the 26th annual American Cinematheque Award on Thursday. The award is focused on people in the midst of successful careers and the Cinematheque’s chairman Rick Nicita called Stiller a “Renaissance man of comedy.” The award ceremony was attended by Stiller’s family, including wife Christine Taylor, along with Will Ferrell, Jack Black, Justin Theroux, Jennifer Aniston, David Cross, Andy Dick, Patton Oswalt, Laura Dern, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Martin Short, and Eugene Levy.
Sadly, the ceremony was not taped for broadcast, as it sometimes has been in year’s past. And it’s really a shame since the descriptions of the event made it sound incredible. Presentations by Cross, Dick, and Oswalt kicked off the evening, followed by a “eulogy” by Black (”What? He’s not dead? Then what the hell are we doing here?”) . Theroux introduced a video segment featuring Tom Cruise (a former American Cinematheque winner) and others talking about Stiller’s film Tropic Thunder. On that film, Stiller served as star, writer, producer, and director, a common role for the talent thesp. Levy later called Stiller the “ultimate hyphenate.”
Ferrell then come out and made jokes about Stiller’s manhood before introducing another video package. Dern spoke about Stiller’s independent films such as Greenberg. Jennifer Aniston (sporting a large engagement ring, I guess I legally obligated to note) called introduced another video package by saying “every shiksha on a J-date is looking for this boy.”
Stiller’s hero William Shatner appeared in a taped piece, asking ”Has anyone ever done a DNA on Ben? Because he’s got the musculature that I’ve got.” Later Stiller’s parents Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara appeared in a pre-taped tribute and Meara signed off by saying “please give Bill Shatner my love.” Taylor spoke about Stiller’s humanitarian efforts in Haiti, followed by a video tribute on that subject from President Bill Clinton. Clinton described Stiller’s efforts as ”inspirational and, more important, persistent.”
Finally, the man of the hour took the stage. “It’s nice to get an award for nothing specific,” Stiller said at the end of the ceremony. “It’s like there’s no single one thing you did, but when you add it all up, there’s something there.” Stiller also referenced the obscurity of the award with a joke. “When I heard I was getting the American Cinematheque Award, my first reaction was to run home and google ‘What is the American Cinematheque Award?’ and a lot of results popped up saying ‘movies’ and ‘nonprofit’ and I was like, ‘Oh cool, they saw The Watch’. Then I saw the list of previous winners like Denzel Washington, Sam Jackson, Ron Howard — all black guys. And then they gave it to Steven Spielberg, Rob Reiner, Mel Gibson and other prominent members of the Jewish community.”
Stiller referenced the love of his life by saying “I have a incredible wife. I love our life together. As you guys just saw she’s the funniest person I know next to Andy Dick.” He also got “serious” by saying “The best movies are where someone took a chance, and I hope I can go forward and keep taking chances. Right after I do Night At The Museum 3.”
Turns out that Stiller’s buddy Robert Downey Jr came to the rescue when the award designated for Stiller was dropped a day prior to the ceremony. So, the Tropic Thunder star lent the organization the award he won last year. (source: Variety)