As described by the Lincoln Film Society, its Chaplin Award honors the “distinguished film artist whose body of work and lifetime of achievements represent a significant contribution to the art of film”. With classics and fan favorites like Stand By Me (1986), The Princess Bride (1987), and Misery (1990), it is no wonder director and actor Rob Reiner was honored at the 41st Chaplin Award Gala on April 28, 2014.
The star-studded event was full of amusing anecdotes, nostalgic looks to the past, and anticipatory mentions of future projects.
Reiner’s friends and colleagues—including but not limited to James Caan, Michael Douglass, and Meg Ryan—each introduced one of Reiner’s films or projects. Ryan and her co-star, Billy Crystal, introduced When Harry Met Sally (1989).
“For those of you who have waited 25 years for a sequel, this is it!” Crystal said, inducing laughs from the audience. Crystal and the other presenters recounted stories and unknown aspects of their personal and working relationships with Reiner.
For instance—on the set of When Harry Met Sally, as Ryan and Crystal described, Reiner actually performed the famous orgasm scene at Katz Deli so Ryan knew exactly what he was looking for. The offscreen demonstration was also in front of Reiner’s mother, who played the woman that says, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
Along with these hilarious yet perhaps slightly disturbing vignettes, the gala also provided glimpses into Reiner’s most recent endeavors. A clip of his upcoming film And So It Goes was played as was a clip from the upcoming Proposition 8 documentary, The Case Against 8—in addition to filmmaking, Reiner is an outspoken activist for gay rights.
The actual award was presented by 1998 Chaplin Award recipient and fellow legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese. With a few of his own words regarding his admiration of Reiner, the man of the hour finally walked onto the stage.
Reiner expressed mutual respect of Scorsese and mentioned how grateful he was to be included in his latest film, The Wolf of Wall Street, in which he played the father of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character. Reiner joked: “Which is more unbelievable—that Leonardo DiCaprio is a Jew, or that I’m his father?”
Reiner continued to express his gratitude to both his colleagues and to his family—he stressed that although he loves filmmaking, nothing is more important than his wife and kids.
The night’s presenters joined Reiner onstage after his heartfelt acceptance, and the audience rewarded him again with a much-deserved standing ovation.
By Zoe Halsne