BEVERLY HILLS – On Friday night a number of former and current colleagues of Charlize Theron were invited to salute her as she received the 33rd American Cinemateque Award. The honor has been bestowed on such notable names as Steven Spielberg, Bette Midler, Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington, George Clooney, Samuel L. Jackson, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Arnold Schwarzenegger, among others. While the event absolutely celebrated Theron’s already storied career, it also turned into something of a quite brutal and hilarious roast. As presenter Seth MacFarlane zinged, “Hey, I didn’t ask to be here.”
The American Cinematique is a non-profit organization that runs the historic Egyptian Theater in Hollywood and the Aero Theater in Santa Monica. It programs film festivals and screening series, but, most importantly, classic and art films that might not be seen publicly on the big screen after their initial debuts. Along with the REDCAT theater downtown and Quentin Tarantino’s New Beverly Theater, it’s a mainstay for revival cinema in Los Angeles. Friday’s ceremony was the organization’s annual fundraiser that helps keep the lights on at both venues throughout the year.
Theron, of course, is an Oscar-winner for her role in “Monster” and a nominee in 2006 for Niki Caro’s “North Country.” She’s a five-time Golden Globe (she won for “Monster”), four-time SAG Awards and two-time BAFTA nominee. She’s also appeared in two Best Picture nominees, “The Cider House Rules” and “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and as just a leading actress alone, her films have grossed over $1.4 billion worldwide. She could potentially earn a second Oscar for her performance in Jay Roach’s “Bombshell.”
Theron’s tribute featured taped appearances from her “That Thing You Do” director Tom Hanks, her “Monster” helmer Patty Jenkins (stuck in London working on “Wonder Woman 1984”) and her “Bombshell” co-stars Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie. The in-person speeches began with MacFarlane who at times was scathing when recalling working with his “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” co-star.
In the video below you can hear MacFarlane wax poetically about how much of a help Theron was during production, but it was his almost 10 minute set beforehand which at times appeared to test even Theron’s patience. He made a number of African and South African jokes that got laughs but were…questionable. He joked about her former boyfriend, Sean Penn, and he had an inspired bit where he learned that Third Eye Blind’s actual third album was inspired by lead singer Stephan Jenkins’ relationship with her 20 years ago. MacFarlane was dumbfounded that Third Eye Blind even had three albums. “How did they stretch out two songs?” That got a hearty laugh from Theron.
Theron’s “Snow White and the Huntsman” co-star, Kristen Stewart, came out with one of the best lines of the night that maybe five people in the room seemed to get. She joke that Theron “is very tall. I’m J’adore-ing it” as a crack to Theron’s long-running Dior perfume ads. She also noted that her remarks may sound “gay as hell” and by gay, she meant “incredibly cool” and that Theron made her believe in actual magic. She was gripped. And, praising her charity and philanthropic work, that Theron was a “rebel-rouser of the highest order.”
Patton Oswalt, who stared with Theron in “Young Adult,” asked of all the people in the world why did his first naked scene have to be with the most genetically perfect person on the planet. He also wondered why she was so greedy and good at both being hot and funny. Why not just pick one?
Jason Reitman, who directed Theron in both “Young Adult” and “Tully,” noted that he’d been in the Beverly Hilton Hotel ballroom more times than he could remember (including for a few too many bar mitzvahs). Moreover, one of the more touching things he ever saw was his father, Ivan Reitman, meeting Jimmy Stewart only a few feet from where he was on stage. Reitman also noted that Theron once told him a joke more off-color than McFarlane’s opening set (that’s impressive).
Rogen, who starred alongside Theron in “Longshot” earlier this year, had such a roast-worthy set that the Cinematique were clearly unable to cut one press-friendly clip out of his remarks. The comedy star really got Theron going by joking about how he saw her on-screen when he was just 13 and how much it affected him as someone so much younger than him. Considering she’s just seven years older than the 37-year-old Rogen, Theron was not having it. He also had to note that the more famous people could have “skyped in” instead of sending videos off someone’s phone.
When Theron finally accepted her award from Rogen she was able to clap back at some of her roasters noting that Oswalt and Stewart were no longer in the building, “Great. This is really going great. My friends.” And, of course, found a way to tie “Bombshell” into her remarks. If the night taught those in attendance anything it was that Theron’s resume is truly impressive and MacFarlane might deserve another go around as Oscars host (maybe).
The event also saluted AMC Theaters and its CEO, Adam Aaron.