Monday, May 27, 2024

Jeff Bridges, Always “The Big Lebowski,” Given A List All Star Salute — and A Little Ribbing –at Film Society’s Chaplin Awards

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The Chaplin Awards, named for its original recipient, Charlie Chaplin, was the place to be this week to honor Jeff Bridges. On Monday, the Film Society of Lincoln Center honored Oscar winner Bridges (for 2009’s “Crazy Heart”) of the famed Bridges family of actors—with dad was “Airplane!” star Lloyd Bridges, his big brother is Beau. Jeff famously would not embrace being an actor until he’d made his tenth movie (which might or might not have been Peter Bodganovich’s classic, “The Last Picture Show”. Blasé is not the word; “relaxed” was on every presenter’s lips.

Those included Barbra Streisand, videoed in to pay tribute to Bridges. She directed and starred in “The Mirror Has Two Faces” with him. Because she loved that he insisted on dancing with her every night of shooting, she made that the ending of the movie.

Beyond “relaxed, add:” “He’s a good man.” Coming from Sharon Stone, that’s a lot. At last year’s NYWFT Muse Awards luncheon, the “Basic Interest” actress spoke at length about the horrors of men in the industry back in the day. Offering only kudos to Bridges, she said she saw him in “Starman” and wondered if such a kind being would fall her way from the sky. She starred with Bridges and Nick Nolte in the 1999 movie, “Simpatico,” directed by Matthew Warchus and co-written by Sam Shepard. She declared felt lucky to be with such good men.

Rosie Perez raised a glass from the stage, in remembrance of a drink she did not have with him when he championed her for a role in Peter Weir’s “Fearless.” He was so relaxed, “it pissed me off.” And, get this, she said, they were reluctant to have an interracial couple. “Jeff,” she addressed him, “it would be so easy for you to be an asshole. Which are not.”

Blythe Danner, who can go ditsy on cue, forgot some details about the film she did with Bridges in 1975 called “Hearts of the West.” When he shouted out the references from the audience, she was impressed by his good “projection”—given he’s a movie actor. Ditto, John Lithgow on video sang his praises. But it was Chris Pine, most hilarious, on their friendship after making the Taylor Sheridan film “Hell or High Water,” quoting some of Bridges’ signature lines.

“Ok, if I quote you?”

“Go for it man.”

So he did “The Big Lebowski” Dude speech: “Yeah, well, . . . that’s just your opinion.”

“Family is the whole thing,” said Jeff Bridges accepting the statue from Pine —especially the encouragement from mom and dad, and mom’s saying, just go and have fun. It was his “addiction to comfort,” he said about his lack of commitment to acting—even after he was nominated for an Oscar his first time out, in “The Last Picture Show.” Tonight, he said, he had fun and felt lucky and loved.

PS Also spotted around Alice Tully Hall: Kieran Culkin, Jeremy Shamos, Cynthia Erivo, Sarah Paulson, and Gloria Reuben. Conspicuously absent: Joel or Ethan Coen, John Turturro, John Goodman, Karen Allen. They were there in spirit!

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