Tonight at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Black WidowScarlett Johansson became the 35th recipient of the American Cinematheque Award.
Among those present to pay tribute to the two-time Oscar nominee was Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, who praised her for her “talent,” “vision,” intelligence and sagacity, and as an actress and producer, also teasing “top secret Marvel Studios- a project “about which the studio is once again collaborating with the actress, about whom he said nothing related to her. Black Widow character, Natasha Romanoff. Feige noted that Johansson, who became the first Marvel actor with an executive production of one of the studio’s films with Black Widow, will also serve in the next project as a producer.
“Scarlett has lent her talent and stellar power to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for over a decade. That she chose to play a key role in it for so many years, I am extremely grateful,” the MCU producer said. “Working with [her] it has truly been one of the most memorable and rewarding collaborations of my career. “
(Not to mention tonight Feige or anyone else was the lawsuit Johansson filed against Disney in July, around the release of Black Widow, which further highlights the announcement of her newest team with Marvel. Johansson claimed in her suit that Disney had violated her contract by releasing the film on Disney + at the same time it was released in theaters. While The Walt Disney Co. initially issued a statement saying there was “no merit” to Johansson’s filing, sparking a very public word war with the actress and her representatives, it ultimately agreed with her for more than $ 40 million, according to our sources.)
Additional speakers honoring Johansson this evening included producer Jon Favreau (who worked with her on the films Ferulo 2, Chef and The Jungle Book), her Jojo Rabbit late-night star Thomasin McKenzie, Andy Richter, actress Abbie Cornish, Jamie Lee Curtis, her twin brother Hunter Johansson, and her fellow MCU stars, Sam Rockwell, Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Downey Jr. and Jeremy Renner.
Favreau praised his “good friend” Johansson, noting that “she’s smart and she’s funny” and “she’s been known” to him from the start, because of their common East Coast roots. He also talked about the concept of “repeat business”, noting that there is a good reason that the same people ended up working with her over and over again. “Everyone who works with Scarlett will to work with Scarlett, ”the director observed. “She’s dedicated, and she always lets a passion dictate what she does next.” Favreau added that while the American Cinematheque Award is a great honor, “the highest honor you could really receive is longevity in your career.” He noted that this is something Johansson has already achieved, working as an actress since she was a child, adding that she will continue to thrive in the industry because she was “brave enough, flexible and smart” to pivot constantly, everywhere. her career.
McKenzie called Johansson a “brilliant example of how to act,” whose “extraordinary talent,” is “backed by the generosity, inclusive attitude, and strength she brings to her work.” She also talked about the “maternal presence” that Johansson brought Jojo Rabbit and to her own character, Elsa, who was “perfect for our film,” and to the way Johansson approached those around her on set. “In a movie that was always about hiding,” said the actress, “I realized Scarlett never did.”
Richter joked that “none of this would have happened if it weren’t for me,” jokingly claiming that “Scarlett owes her career to me.” He then admitted that late-night icon Conan O’Brien probably played a role in her success, as he gave the actress her first TV role. This was in a Late Night with Conan O’Brien a sketch involving a spelling bee winner played by Johansson, who constantly misspells the words given to her by the host, much to Richter’s chagrin. “The talent was evident even then — and Scarlett was great too,” Richter said after showing a clip of the episode, featuring the actress at the age of seven. “But very seriously, it’s really an emotion and an honor to be here tonight, and to have played a small role in the start of an amazing career.”
Cornish referenced a conversation she once had with Johansson about refrigerators, and whether she likes to keep her empty or full. (Naturally, Johansson likes her well-stocked.)
“Like her refrigerator, [Scarlett] is full. There’s nothing Scarlett can’t do, ”said Cornish. “So, I guess there’s a guarantee here. Whenever you watch a Scarlett Johansson movie, whatever you want out of it, you get it. Because Scarlett’s fridge is always full. ”
Curtis appeared wearing the costume as she put it on Business Locations‘Inga from Sweden, realizing that although she had much in common with Johansson — both are half-Jewish mothers of two acting children, with “low, raucous voices” —and had previously texted and exchanged gifts, she had never met the honoree in person. . “I hope you don’t mind if I seize this very public opportunity to introduce myself to her here in front of all of you,” Curtis said, “so if you think that’s weird, fuck you!” Curtis then declared Johansson to be her “new best friend.”
Then there was Hunter Johansson, founder of the nonprofit Solar Responders, who spoke of her sister’s “unwavering support for nonprofits,” and her “fearless advocacy for the empowerment of women and many social causes.”
“I consider Scarlett my own personal inspiration,” said the younger Johansson. “I’m the luckiest brother in the world.”
Later, it was Renner who said he “looked at Scarlett from afar, long before we ever met,” expressing his gratitude for finding the opportunity to work with the “beautiful and powerful individual” on many Marvel movies.
Rockwell, Evans, Jackson and Downey have intervened via video messages, with Rockwell addressing the damage Johansson has caused him in fight scenes past. “My balls have stopped bleeding since Jojo Rabbit… I can’t have children, of course. But, hey, who needs kids? “Joked the actor.” Sorry I couldn’t be there, but my psychiatrist said it could cause a setback. “
Evans noted that he and Johansson made their first film together “20 years ago” and made eight more later, sharing that he thinks of her as an older sister not only because of her wisdom, but also because “there’s just no one else in the world I’d rather be bothered. ”
Jackson noted that Johansson’s honors so far make up “not even a small part” of how she will be honored for the rest of her life. Downey Jr., meanwhile, pretended disinterest in the pre-recorded tribute to someone outside a camera (“This is Hollywood. We live to f ** re congratulate ourselves”) before sharing a candid message about Johansson’s ability to overcome all obstacles in her path. .
In her acceptance speech, Johansson thanked the night speakers for “taking the time to feel very shy and embarrassed,” calling the American Cinematheque tribute “one of the highlights” of her career. She then reflected on the cast members and crew who supported her during her voyage, also taking time to thank her agents, her production partners and business partners, her “long-suffering publicist”, her brothers Hunter and Adrian, and her “handsome”. husband, ” SNLby Colin Jost, who “laughs all over the country every Saturday night and fills our house with laughter 365 days a year.”
Johansson later paid tribute to her mother, Melanie Sloan, who exposed her to films from a very young age, thus igniting her enthusiasm for storytelling. “She showed my siblings and me a lot of age-inappropriate movies like Silence of the Lambs, ”Johansson said with a smile. “I still remember seeing Schindler’s list in the theater when I was 9. I was literally haunted by the little girl in the red coat. ”
Johansson called her mother her “own private American Cinema,” stating that as her career went on, she only grew more convinced that she was doing the job she was meant to do— “having a visceral emotional reaction in an apparent world.”
She went on to share that she spoke with her therapist about the honor of American Cinematheque, which led her to reflect on what her contribution to film was. “I think I allow people to connect with themselves. People are able to feel things [watching films] that people don’t let themselves be felt in real life, ”she said. “Isn’t it funny how we allow ourselves to be the most vulnerable in the dark with complete strangers?”
Johansson expressed the belief that storytelling has a “great impact on our emotional well-being,” also promoting empathy for others by allowing the viewer to see through their eyes. She then thanked the American Cinematheque for “ensuring that curiosity and celebration around filmmaking and film viewing remain alive.”
She added that receiving tonight’s award was an “incredible gift,” allowing her to pause and take stock of where she is in her life and career, “before continuing gratefully along the path that chose me 30 years ago.
“It was an honor and a privilege to spend this evening together,” she said at last.
Johansson is in good company, as far as the American cinema is concerned, joining a list of honorees dating back to 1986, which includes Spike Lee, Charlize Theron, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Ridley Scott, Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey, Jerry Bruckheimer. , Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Samuel L. Jackson, Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Al Pacino, Steve Martin, Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington, Nicolas Cage, Bruce Willis, Jodie Foster, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Rob Reiner, Michael Douglas, Sean Connery, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, Robin Williams, Bette Midler and Eddie Murphy.
The other award of the evening was the inaugural Power of Cinema Award, celebrating companies that embrace storytelling as a means to drive social change. That honor went to Participant, with Oscar-winning filmmaker Tom McCarthy performing.
McCarthy noted that he first worked with the company as an actor in George Clooney’s Good night, and good luck, then continuing to work with them on the acclaimed films The Visitor, Spotlight and Still water. “Our collaboration was what every filmmaker would expect in partnership with a studio. They are fiercely committed to their mission to inspire storytelling,” said the director. go ahead and engage in their films, even after the credits roll, creating a seamless mix between art and activism. “
Accepting the award on behalf of Participant was CEO David Linde, who spoke about his passion for using film as a force for good. “Stories matter more than ever because community is more important than ever,” Linde said. “It’s that common experience that gives us the ability to see and empathize with the lives of others.”
Linde dedicated the award to the late Diane Weyermann, the decorated producer who served as Participant’s Chief Content Officer before passing away in October. He called her one of the company’s “anchors”, saluting her “passion for essential and challenging stories” and her “fervent ability to approach every project with care and compassion.”
The American Cinematheque Awards is an annual fundraiser for the nonprofit organization that continues its year-round programming at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, Los Feliz 3 Theater in Los Feliz, and the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. The latter site is poised for a grand reopening next year.