Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Woody Allen, Warren Beatty, Al Pacino Surprise Diane Keaton to Toast Her at Hollywood Tribute


meryl streep

Historic night in Hollywood as Woody Allen, Warren Beatty, and Al Pacino have all shown up — surprise– tonight at the annual American Film Institute gala in Hollywood, this year in honor of their ex-girlfriend and co-star Diane Keaton. Yes, she dated them all, made great movies with them, and picked up a lot of awards. They all love her. (For Beatty, it was a triumphant return to the stage of the Dolby Theater after his Oscar mishap a few months ago.)

This austere trio was joined by Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda, Steve Martin, Martin Short, Reese Witherspoon, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Morgan Freeman, Lisa Kudrow, and a raft of notables celebrating Diane Keaton‘s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Keaton wowed the crowd accepting her award– she sang “Seems Like Old Times,” the song she sang from her Oscar winning performance as “Annie Hall.”

But the impact of having all of Keaton’s leading men in the same room is astonishing. They’ve never been seen together at all in over 40 years of film making.

“I owe so much of my career to her,” Woody said, doing a rare stand up. (You could count on one hand how many tributes Woody Allen has attended let alone spoken at.)  He then added, “You’re all heard of the character Eve Harrington in “All About Eve.”  Not to judge, but Diane was ruthlessly ambitious.  She made an interesting Freudian slip when she first met me.  She meant to say ‘a talented young director,’ instead she called me ‘her stepping stone.’  He went on to gently rib his dear friend. “Her beauty is not conventional, nor is the way she dresses.  Diane dressed up looks the woman from “A Streetcar Named Desire,” who comes to take Blanche to the institution.  She also has this fear of death.  I told her that you know what’s it like when you get a colonoscopy?  You get these drugs and you’re out of it, it’s so nice.  I told her that death is like that.  Life however, is like the prep day.” He added, “I didn’t know much she loved me until I read her book– and that she was bulimic. I took her to all these $400 meals when we were together. I could have taken her to Pizza Hut and saved a fortune!

Pacino was really a surprise since he and Keaton have not been close for years. “I feel like I’ve known you for my whole life. The first time I met her was at Patsy’s in East Harlem for “The Godfather.”  It was a rehearsal dinner for the intimate cast, with Robert Duvall, John Cazale and Marlon Brando was there. Diane was enamored of Marlon, she sort of liked him.  He introduced himself to Diane and said hello I’m Marlon Brando. “  Then Al did a spot on interpretation of her and said, ‘Yeah, Ok, well.’ Everyone else was confused but I laughed.”  Al ended with a poignant, “Diane, you’re a great artist, actor, fashion, photographer, director, all of it and I saw it all happen.  Mainly you’re a charitable spirit.  I was there and I saw it.  I remember it and I love you and I’ll love you forever.” 

Beatty lauded Keaton. “Diane is unpredictable, suspenseful, sometimes comedic, sometimes tragic. She came up with so much of the story in “Reds.” If it wasn’t for her, I couldn’t have done “Reds.” You were completely indispensable.” He pointed to her and said, “You made the movie.” To which then Diane pointed back at him and mouthed, “You made the movie.”  He ended with thanking her for “your artistry, inspiration and friendship.” 

The night reflected Diane’s unabashed oddball style.  Lisa Kudrow got a hold of a deposition that Diane was deposed at, and changing the names, did her best imitation of the lawyer and then Diane answering the questions.  Steve and Marty then serenaded Diane with a short rendition of “The Way You Look Tonight,” each sitting on either side of her on the dais.  Diane looked visibly moved, until the end when they playfully pushed her back and kissed each other on the lips.

Past AFI honoree Jane Fonda got one of the biggest laughs of the night when she noted she was wearing a white suit. “But not as white as Trump’s cabinet.”

Other A list guests included  “Wonder Woman” director and AFI graduate Patty Jenkins as well as industry VIP’s including; Candice Bergen, Meg Ryan, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, TNT’s Kevin Reilly, Power lawyer Jake Bloom and his wife author Ruth Bloom, Jerry and Linda Bruckheimer, Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg, Paramount’s Jim Gianopulos, Warner’s Sue Kroll, Focus Features Peter Kujawski, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, producer Colleen Camp, Producer/Director Vince Gilligan, the AFI’s noted ex President Jean Picker Firstenberg and so many more.

AFI’s President and CEO Bob Gazzale got the night started by introducing AFI’s founder George Stevens Jr and the elegant Sidney Poitier, who was the first Vice-Chair, (the late Gregory Peck was the first Chairman.)  George noted that Sidney “brings dignity and honors our profession.” 

Richard Dreyfuss, who came to support his longtime pal, was a hit of the night as people swarmed to him.   Other celeb pals included Meg Ryan; her date was her actor son Jack Quaid, Candice Bergen, Andie McDowell, Ileana Douglas, Andy Garcia and Carol Kane.

The AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards airs June 15th at 10pm DST on TNT.


Leah Sydney
Leah Sydney
Leah Sydney writes from Los Angeles for A seasoned journalist with a long history during the halcyon days of the NY Daily News, Leah is a member of the Critics Choice and Rotten Tomatoes.

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