“I’m not going anywhere,” Shirley MacLaine quips. “And anyway, I’d be right back.”
Pound for pound, there’s more glam at the Texas Film Awards than at any other Austin social event. And that’s a good thing, since the Austin Film Society fundraiser is a marathon. Photographers show up around 5 p.m. Guests linger long after 11 p.m.
It starts with a red carpet that’s worthy of the name. Not just award winners, but Austin film and philanthropy royalty. Then there’s a tasty dinner and a heady if extended live auction, which included precious time with the makers of Showtime’s “The Circus,” donated by Mark McKinnon, a gift which brought in a cool $60,000o. A double package allowing two bidders to appear in a Richard Linklater movie with Cate Blanchett went for a total of $42,000.
Tens of thousands were also raised for filmmaker grants.
Austin actress Olivia Applegate got things going with a tribute to the late Debbie Reynolds, an El Paso native, while Suzanna Choffel put her own spin on “Singin’ in the Rain.” Later, director Robert Rodriguez saluted the late actor Bill Paxton, then showed a video of tributes from colleagues Tom Cruise and Kevin Bacon.
Film Society leader Rebecca Campbell touted two top-quality screens aimed for the group’s upcoming art cinema, as well as programs that set Texas apart as a “film culture.”
Tye Sheridan, winner of the Rising Star Award, stumbled and choked up charmingly as he admitted this was his first acceptance speech ever. It won’t be the last for the star of “Mud” and other Austin-linked movies.
Later, of course, the movie’s director, Jeff Nichols, and its producer, Sarah Green, were also honored. She was lauded as somebody “who gets movies made,” while he talked about his Texan wife, who convinced him to cast Matthew McConaughey in “Mud” and also to make his Academy Award nominee “Loving.”
Henry Cisneros, the first Hispanic mayor of a major American city, introduced Hector Galán, the first documentary maker to win a Texas Film Award.
Galán gave a great speech, rich with history, apt for the man who has told us more than almost anyone else about the Mexican-American experience.
“I’m glad to be anywhere!” proclaims honorary Texan MacLaine as she picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award and also the Star of Texas Award for “Terms of Endearment.” “I’m going to pin this up into earrings.”