Sidney Poitier and George Stevens, Jr., Mark AFI's 50th Anniversary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, June 9, 2017, Los Angeles, CA — Actor, director, writer and icon Diane Keaton was honored with the American Film Institute's 45th AFI Life Achievement Award— America's highest honor for a career in film — on Thursday, June 8, in an evening filled with laughter, stories, song and surprises at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. The televised special, AFI LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: A TRIBUTE TO DIANE KEATON, will air on TNT June 15 at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT), followed by an encore presentation on sister network Turner Classic Movies (TCM) on July 31 during a night of programming dedicated to her career.
Keaton's Tribute brought to the stage seven previous AFI Life Achievement Award honorees as performers and presenters for this historic event: Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda, Morgan Freeman, Steve Martin, Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and Sidney Poitier. Additional presenters who paid tribute to Keaton included Lisa Kudrow, Rachel McAdams, Martin Short, Sarah Silverman, Emma Stone, Reese Witherspoon and surprise guest Woody Allen.
Among the artists who gathered to celebrate Keaton were Candice Bergen, James L. Brooks, Jerry Bruckheimer, Richard Donner, Illeana Douglas, Richard Dreyfuss, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Diane English, Andy Garcia, Vince Gilligan, Patty Jenkins (AFI Class of 2000), Carol Kane, Andie MacDowell, Nancy Meyers, Meg Ryan, Carole Bayer Sager, Jane Seymour, Steve Tyrell, Jacki Weaver and Dianne Wiest.
The evening began with a special onstage commemoration of AFI's 50th Anniversary by AFI Founding Director George Stevens, Jr., and AFI founding Board of Trustees Vice Chair and Hollywood icon Sidney Poitier. "'Film, without the American contribution, is unimaginable,'" said Stevens, quoting the words of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., founding AFI Board of Trustees member. "That truth, and the belief of the founding Trustees and the importance of the motion picture, inspired an American Film Institute that would advance and elevate the art of film in the United States."
Acclaimed cinematographer and AFI Conservatory Class of 1972 alumnus Frederick Elmes (BLUE VELVET, THE NIGHT OF) was awarded the 2017 Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal for his commitment to excellence in film and television.
Steve Martin and Martin Short opened the Tribute to Diane Keaton with a hilarious musical roast of the actress and her body of work. The evening's additional highlights included clips spanning her career and touching remarks and anecdotes from guests and presenters, with an emphasis on feminist spirit and empowerment.
The evening concluded with a surprise and rare appearance by Woody Allen, who presented the AFI Life Achievement Award to Keaton.
"The minute I met her, she was a great, great inspiration to me. Much of what I've accomplished in my life, I owe for sure to her," Allen said. "This is a woman who is great at everything she does — actress, writer, photographer, director."
Accepting the prestigious honor, Keaton concluded the evening by singing a rendition of "Seems Like Old Times," the love theme from ANNIE HALL.
Building upon the evening's theme of celebrating female artistry, the inaugural Audi Fellowship for Women, which will support the entire two-year AFI Conservatory enrollment for one promising female director, was spotlighted earlier at the event. Audi, an enduring supporter of the motion picture arts, and of AFI for over 14 years, is now investing in the future of our dynamic community by expanding opportunities for female storytellers. Natalie Camou, in attendance at the event, received the first-ever Fellowship, and will begin her journey as a Directing Fellow at the AFI Conservatory in August 2017.
A special moment was also taken to recognize AFI Conservatory alumna Patty Jenkins, whose WONDER WOMAN this past weekend garnered the biggest box-office opening ever for a female director.
Proceeds from the Gala event support the Institute's national education programs and the preservation of American film heritage. Sponsors of the 45th AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute include American Airlines, the official airline of AFI; Audi of America; Four Seasons Hotel; Gibson Foundation; South Coast Plaza; and VIZIO, the official home theater sponsor of AFI.
About Diane Keaton
Diane Keaton — multifaceted actor, director, producer, author, real estate developer and photographer — can boast more than 80 diverse credits across five decades. Her iconic roles span the cinematic spectrum, from long-suffering mob wife Kay Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola's THE GODFATHER (1972) to the "la-de-dah" heroine of Woody Allen's ANNIE HALL (1977) — a role which earned her an Academy Award® for Best Actress and turned her into a national fashion icon. Perhaps best known for her long comedic collaboration with Allen — including PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM (1972), SLEEPER (1973), LOVE AND DEATH (1975), MANHATTAN (1979) and more — she has proven herself equally adept at dramatic roles, with powerhouse performances in films such as LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR (1977), REDS (1981), THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL (1984) and MARVIN'S ROOM (1996). During the 1980s, Keaton turned to directing — from feature narratives and documentaries to music videos and television. A perennial box office favorite, she has maintained her popular profile with films including BABY BOOM (1987), FATHER OF THE BRIDE (1991) and FATHER OF THE BRIDE PART II (1995), THE FIRST WIVES CLUB (1996), SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE (2003), MORNING GLORY (2010), THE BIG WEDDING (2013), AND SO IT GOES (2014) and Pixar's FINDING DORY (2016). She recently graced the small screen with her unique presence in the HBO miniseries THE YOUNG POPE, and will next appear in the film HAMPSTEAD (2017) opposite Brendan Gleeson.
About the AFI Life Achievement Award
The highest honor given for a career in film, the AFI Life Achievement Award was established by the AFI Board of Trustees on February 26, 1973. It is presented to a single honoree each year based on the following criteria as mandated through a resolution passed by the AFI Board of Trustees:
"The recipient should be one whose talent has in a fundamental way advanced the film art; whose accomplishment has been acknowledged by scholars, critics, professional peers and the general public; and whose work has stood the test of time."
TNT, a division of Turner, ranks among cable's Top 5 networks with young adults and is home to one of cable's most popular slate of original series, including Animal Kingdom, Good Behavior, The Last Ship, Major Crimes, The Librarians and the upcoming Will, Claws, The Alienist, American Race and more. TNT also presents popular shows like Arrow, Supernatural, Bones and Castle; primetime specials, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards® and the iHeartRadio Music Awards; and championship sports coverage, including the NBA and the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.
About Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a two-time Peabody Award-winning network that presents great films, uncut and commercial-free, from the largest film libraries in the world highlighting the entire spectrum of film history. TCM features the insights from Primetime host Ben Mankiewicz and Saturday daytime host Tiffany Vazquez, plus interviews with a wide range of special guests and serves as the ultimate movie lover destination. Currently in its 23rd year as a leading authority in classic film, TCM offers critically acclaimed series like The Essentials, along with annual programming events like 31 Days of Oscar® in February and Summer Under the Stars in August. TCM also directly connects with movie fans through events as the annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, the TCM Big Screen Classics series in partnership with Fathom Events, as well as through the TCM Classic Film Tour in New York City and Los Angeles. In addition, TCM produces a wide range of media about classic film, including books and DVDs, and hosts a wealth of material online at tcm.com and through the Watch TCM mobile app.
TCM is a division of Turner, a Time Warner company, Turner creates and programs branded news, entertainment, sports, animation and young adult multi-platform content for consumers around the world. Turner brands and businesses include CNN/U.S., HLN, CNN International and CNN.com, TBS, TNT, TCM, truTV, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Adult Swim, Turner Sports, Bleacher Report, FilmStruck, Super Deluxe, iStreamPlanet and ELEAGUE.
About the American Film Institute
Celebrating its golden milestone, the American Film Institute began its mission on June 5, 1967 — to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. Established by Lyndon B. Johnson's presidential mandate in the White House Rose Garden, AFI is America's promise to educate today's audiences and tomorrow's artists. The Institute was anchored by a foundation of luminaries from the film community including Gregory Peck as Chair, Sidney Poitier as Vice Chair, George Stevens, Jr., as Director and CEO with board members Francis Ford Coppola, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Jack Valenti.
In 1969, AFI opened the Center for Advanced Film Studies, now called the AFI Conservatory, an elite MFA program whose inaugural class included Terrence Malik, Caleb Deschanel and Paul Schrader. The program's acclaimed film and television alumni include Andrea Arnold, Darren Aronofsky, Julie Dash, Patty Jenkins, Janusz Kamiński, David Lynch and Robert Richardson, among others.
In addition to the AFI Conservatory, AFI programs include the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and the AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film; AFI AWARDS, honoring the most outstanding movies and TV series of the year; AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI FEST presented by Audi, AFI DOCSand the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center.