Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Wednesday, January 26, 2005

An article on the Cinematheque Award Show

The Daily News of Los Angeles
January 22, 2005 Saturday
By Valerie Kuklenski Staff Writer

STARS PAYING tribute at this year's American Cinematheque Award ceremony left their usual superlatives at the door and came ready to have fun with - and poke fun at - the guest of honor, Steve Martin.

The Beverly Hills dinner, held Nov. 12 and finally ready for telecast Sunday, was closer to a Friars Club roast than a conventional presentation by the Hollywood film organization.

Martin, 59, was chosen for the midcareer honor for his acting and writing on the big screen, but he also was praised for work ranging from stand-up comedy to writing of TV, plays and novellas. And banjo picking and fake dancing.

"Tonight we honor a stand-up comedian, the first rock-star comedian who filled stadiums and arenas, sold records, won two Grammys"' Robin Williams said. "And you have to remember he had an arrow through his head at the time."

The presentation featured clips from several of Martin's movies, including "The Jerk," "All of Me," "Pennies From Heaven,'' ``Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," "L.A. Story'' and ``Parenthood."

"Steve's films will be studied long after we're gone, because two things are timeless: the comedy of Mr. Steve Martin and community college," his "Three Amigos" co-star Martin Short said.

Producer Brian Grazer and director Ron Howard said they were flattered to be asked to present the award, until it dawned on them that Martin was avoiding taking the stage directly after the funniest people in the room.

"Steve's thinking, who does he know who has some industry status but at the same time is really dull?" Grazer said.

"So it's with tremendous disgust and great scorn that we introduce Steve Martin," Howard said.

"This evening is especially meaningful to me because when I was a kid, my friends and I used to meet after school and get all dressed up and play American Cinematheque awards show," Martin said.

He thanked his first manager and agent with warm and amusing anecdotes, then lumped together all those currently guiding his career in one flurry of words, reasoning that it would make it easier for the editors to snip it out of the telecast.

Martin then turned serious as he talked about his work.

"Comedy can be predictable, surprising, simple or elaborate. But the one thing it can never be is finally and forever mastered," he said. "Just when you think you know it all, your joke is left reverberating in an unnerving silence.

"That quest, that feeling that there is still something left to understand, has kept me going all these years."

Then the dry wit resurfaced as he accepted the award "on behalf of all millionaire comedians everywhere."


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