Who else but Warren Beatty could garner tributes at his AFI Life Achievement Award ceremony, in the form of a stoner joke from Robert Downey Jr., a rap performance from Pras, and a pat on the back from Bill Clinton?
The Splendor in the Grass star brought some Old Hollywood glamor to the gala in his honor at the Kodak Theater, which aired Tuesday night on the USA network. There’s no question the man’s got charisma; his charm is the only remedy for watching even but a few moments of Ishtar. And his passion to get Bonnie and Clyde made is almost as legendary as its heroes — apparently, Beatty knelt at the feet of studio boss Jack Warner and begged to get the film made.
But as much as I admire Beatty’s contributions to cinema in the ’60s and ’70s, he surely must have the thinnest filmography of any star of his stature — he’s only made eight movies in the last thirty years. Compare that to Robert Duvall, who’s made almost 65 films in the same period! Of course, Beatty’s versatile as an actor and as a director, able to take on such diverse projects as Reds, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, and Dick Tracy.
But look at some of these other titles on his resume: The Fortune, Ishtar, Love Affair (I will never forgive him for making Katherine Hepburn say “F— a duck”), Town & Country. And even going back to his Hollywood golden-boy days of the ’60s and early ’70s, we find such forgettable entries as Promise Her Anything, Kaleidoscope, The Only Game in Town, and $. Call me a film snob, but I’m even a bit of a skeptic when it comes to Bonnie. Part of me thinks the film just rips off French New Wave movies that did it better, such as Breathless, Jules and Jim, and Pierrot le fou.
What do you think, PopWatchers? Is Beatty all that? Or do you think there was another overlooked icon more deserving of the award? Maybe I’m just bitter that Woody Allen still hasn’t been honored.
addCredit(“Warren Beatty; Kevin Winter/Getty Images”)