Bruce Willis receives Emmy Award at American Cinematheque Moving Picture Ball?
 

American Cinematheque Award Recipients

Bruce Willis 2000

Jodie Foster 1999

Arnold Schwarzenegger 1998

John Travolta 1997

Tom Cruise 1996

Mel Gibson 1995

Rob Reiner 1994

Michael Douglas 1993

Sean Connery 1992

Martin Scorsese 1991

Ron Howard 1990

Steven Spielberg 1989

Robin Williams 1988

Bette Midler 1987

Eddie Murphy 1986

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Beverly Hills -- A battalion of press descended on Merv Giffin's Beverly Hilton Hotel Saturday night (Sept. 23rd) to capture the moment when industry stars and star-makers swept into the lobby, ready to honor mega-star Bruce Willis at the American Cinematheque's 15th annual Moving Picture Ball, the organization's principle fund-raiser.

Dinner was served in the International Ballroom to the strains of a lively, if not a bit overpowering jazz quartet. Guests dined on ceaser salad, and steak and chicken with baby vegetables at tables adorned with elegant sprays of white orchids set in round vases filled with fresh strawberries and water. The aroma melantonioball.GIF (24376 bytes)was marvelous. Dessert was a new creation of the Hilton's chef, a banana mousse swirled into a chocolate cup, adorned with fresh berries and sliced banana drizzled in chocolate. Guests were still lingering over dessert when the American Cinematheque's co-chairmen Peter Dekom and Mike Medavoy took the stage to announce the door prize. One lucky woman won a trip to ride the legendary Orient Express a stay at the beyond-luxurious Cipriani Hotel.

Medavoy and Dekom then introduced a clip of the Cinematheque's daily attraction film FOREVER HOLLYWOOD and the audience watched clips which featured interviews with Spielberg, Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Lansbury and others. They handed the mic over to event co-chairs Arnold Rifkin (Bruce's agent of 17 years and now his partner) and Joe Roth who, while at Disney signed Bruce to a three picture deal which included the break-out hit THE SIXTH SENSE.

Host, Alan Rickman began the show, hobbling out on crutches with a neck brace, as his DIE HARD 2rickmanball.GIF (20391 bytes) character -- post-tumble off the skyscraper. The show unfolded with comments from Willis co-stars such as Melanie Griffith (NOBODY'S FOOL & BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES); Michael Clarke Duncan (THE WHOLE NINE YARDS), Paul Reiser (THE STORY OF US), who did a long riff on Willis' hair or lack thereof -- and Haley Joel Osment (THE SIXTH SENSE) delivered a perfect performance piece about the day Willis ordered ice cream for all the onlookers gathered to watch a SIXTH SENSE scene filmed on location. Apparently young Osment was working and didn't get any ice cream. He proclaimed that he had no trouble doing the crying scenes in the movie. "The tears were real when he thought back to that first day on the set." Linda Fiorentino, apparently an old friend from Bruce's days as a struggling actor in New York City, made some personal comments that were lost on the room. Michael Clarke Duncan and others expressed their thanks to Bruce for getting them cast in films that changed thier lives. Apparently Bruce has a big heart and is always happy to help a friend get a leg up.

Taped messages came in from Willis' 12 MONKEYS co-star Brad Pitt who, referring to Willis' Emmy Award winning stint on "Friends" as Jennifer Aniston's love interest, joked that "There aren't many actors I would feel comfortable seeing kiss my wife, and you aren't one of them." Jennifer Aniston appeared with Bruce's Emmy and brought it to his table where Bruce accepted it and gave an impromptu acceptance brucejennaball.GIF (55018 bytes)speech and hugged Jennifer -- for a long time. Apparently Jennifer's new haircut made the news. Cybill Shepard related her new talk show "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" to the characters of Maggie and David that she and Willis played in "Moonlighting." Glenn Gordon Caron, "Moonlighting" creator recalled going back to the network 11 times with Willis as his leading man because he just knew that Willis was the right man for the part. Former President George Bush (who will not be broadcast in the TNT cut of the show that is aired on television during this election season), could barely be heard over crowd buzzing, but he seemed to be offering his heartfelt congratualtions. Jeremy Irons was toted off in a straight jacket after giving a crazed character performance and George Clooney fiorentino.GIF (23865 bytes)taped so much great material for Bruce, he kept popping up throughout the show. In one of his funniest bits he showed where he first met Bruce at Planet Hollywood Beverly Hills. Cut to a dirt lot where he went over the geography of where he stood and where Bruce was and so on... The joke being (for those of you outside the city), that Planet Hollywood Beverly Hills is no longer. Overall, many of the celebrity comments touched on "Bruce's big heart" and many people gave their thanks for his help with their careers.

There were the standard clip packages of Bruce in his various roles in everything from DIE HARD to comic turns on "Moonlighting" and "Friends," but the footage that really brought down the house were some Japanese commercials that according to Willis himself, "Were never supposed to air outside of Japan." One of the most bizarre depicted Willis' face being digitally manipulated to great comic effect. Guests were also treated to a peak at UNBREAKABLE, which re-teams Willis and his SIXTH SENSE director. Apparently another supernatural thriller, Willis plays a man who mysteriously was unharmed in a train wreck that killed everyone else on board.

Julia Roberts wrapped up the evening making her own off the cuff comments that ranged from commenting on how nerve-wracking it must be to watch your career played back for you and how she could never do something like that -- to commenting on the "cesar salad experience we all shared" -- and that Joe Rothwillisroberts.GIF (36085 bytes) had bought her the tailored, dark suit she wore with a white blouse. She then revealed that she had just come from an Al Gore event at Radio City in New York and was shocked to learn that Bruce was a Republican. She gave him the Award anyway.

Bruce thanked Jesus... twice and of course his mom (who came to see her son roasted and celebrated) for having sex with his father. He seemed genuinely elated to be honored and said some kind words about the work of the American Cinematheque. He admitted that he was a bonafide "cinephile" and joked that he and his friends could crack themselves up for hours by doing lines from movies. According to certain insiders, Willis is indeed a movie-lover. Despite his celebrity status he was often seen in the '90s (base ball cap pulled down over his face), slipping in to catch matinees at the AMC Century City. Insders at the Hilton said that well after midnite (the show ended around 10:15 PM) Willis was still celebrating in a suite at the Hotel with mom, Julia, Arnold Rifkin, Joe Roth and a small group of his oldest and dearest friends who had come to share this special night with him. Chances are they were probably running lines from old movies and cracking each other up.

Still not sure what the long French word "Cinematheque" means or what goes on at the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre? Check out the special issues appearing on Friday, Sept. 22, 2000 of both the Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. They both focus on how far we've come just two years after opening the Egyptian Theatre and have some interesting tidbits on where we get a rare prints and how you can watch American Cinematheque movies at home on DVD and video with our new "American Cinematheque presents..." label -- and how some of these movies might be coming to a theatre near you!

To see the 15th Moving Picture Ball Honoring Bruce Willis for yourself, tune into TNT on Wed. Sept 27th. The only thing you won't get is a favor bag. TNT provided a sturdy canvas book bag to hold the special Cinematheque issues of the Hollywood Reporter and Variety, plus Premiere Magazine, a Three Stooges card game (apparently a favorite comedy group of Bruce's); a tape of one of Bruce Willis' movies; Kiehls cosmetics; Trinity bottled water, Godiva chocolates; a "Planet Bruno" shirt (Willis' rock star persona); and a shirt for the upcoming Touchstone release UNBREAKABLE.