The actor Morgan Freeman was honored with the 43rd Annual Chaplin Award on April 25, at a gala held at Lincoln Center in New York that was sponsored by Swiss luxury watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Freeman accepted his award from actress Helen Mirren, who said of her colleague: “Most actors strive for authenticity and dignity. Morgan doesn’t have to strive, he has it.”
In his acceptance speech, Freeman said: “Knowing my name is now on a list that includes so many legends of cinema that I admire, is something I will always cherish.”
Other presenters, who introduced movie and interview clips throughout the evening, included Robert De Niro, Matthew Broderick, Danny Glover, and Jerry Schatzberg, who spoke of the career and achievements of Freeman, who has won Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for Million Dollar Baby (2004), as well as the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement at the Golden Globes in 2012.
“[Morgan Freeman] is one of the most gifted actors of our time and his body of work has changed the film landscape. He is universally loved as an actor and as a humanitarian, and we are thrilled to add the Chaplin to the long list of distinguished awards he has already received,” said Ann Tenenbaum, the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Board Chairman.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Executive Director, Lesli Klainberg, added: “Whether in a leading or supporting role, he brings a quiet gravitas to each of his memorable performances in such films as Lean on Me and Driving Miss Daisy to Street Smart, The Shawshank Redemption, Seven, Million Dollar Baby, and Invictus.”
As a partner of the Film Society of Lincoln Center since 2003, Jaeger-LeCoultre sponsors the Annual Chaplin Award Gala, which started in 1972, honoring Charlie Chaplin, who returned from exile to the United States to accept the commendation that year. Since then, the award has been given to Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Laurence Olivier, Federico Fellini, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, James Stewart, Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Michael Douglas, Sidney Poitier, Catherine Deneuve, and Robert Redford — to name several.
Jaeger-LeCoultre also regularly sponsors artistic film festivals around the world, such as Venice, Shanghai, San Sebastian, Los Angeles, and New York, as well as gives out the Glory to the Filmmaker Award to a director each year.
— Michelle Tay