The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences held a star-studded tribute to Vanessa Redgrave in London on Sunday night.
This marked the first Academy tribute to an actor in Europe, after hosting past tributes to the likes of producer Jeremy Thomas, Terry Gilliam and Stanley Kubrick.
After AMPAS former president Sid Ganis welcomed attendees at the Curzon Soho, writer/director David Hare (who directed Redgrave in 1985’s Wetherby) hosted the evening.
Redgrave herself spoke about how she saved up to see Samson and Delilah at the cinema six times as a girl (and wowed the audience with her Victor Mature impersonation, “What’s your name pretty girl?”).
She also spoke about her time on the sets of such classics as Camelot (“I loved the make-believe of it.”) and Blow-Up (“Michelangelo Antonioni was like a choreographer. A movement, a shape meant much more to him than anything else”).
Speakers paying tribute to Redgrave included Meryl Streep, Ralph Fiennes, Joely Richardson, James Earl Jones and Eileen Atkins. There were also video messages from Liam Neeson and Jane Fonda.
Streep said “I can’t state enough what an influence she has been…to the little sisterhoood of actors” and spoke of her “intense personal bravery.” She called Redgrave “my goddess.”
Richardson, Redgrave’s daughter who is also an actress, said her late sister Natasha would have also been proud of their mother last night: “Tash would say you were her North Star, guiding us all on our journey to doing great work.”
Fiennes said: “You’ve always moved me as an actor…You search for and distill for us moments of truth.”
James Earl Jones, said his current co-star in the West End production of Driving Miss Daisy, was an “endlessly innovative and engaging partner.”
The evening also included clips of 20 of her 70+ films.
Redgrave won an Oscar for 1977’s Julia and was also Oscar nominated for Morgan!, Isadora, Mary, Queen of Scots, The Bostonians, and Howards End.
Also, AMPAS had awarded James Earl Jones his honorary Oscar in London on Saturday, since he was unable to attend the Governors Awards ceremony in Los Angeles as he stars in Driving Miss Daisy. Ben Kingsley presented him with the award after a matinee performance of the play.