Friday, March 9, 2007

Texas Film Hall of Fame - Only in Texas

Tonight, I spent a very long 5 plus hours at a very strange banquet: The 2007 Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards.

The evening honored former Governor Ann Richards, who was a giant in politics in Texas, and a giant for the women of Texas. It is hard to overestimate her impact on the lives of people here. She had hosted four of these awards ceremonies, so her old friend Liz Smith hosted and the evening was sprinkled with rembrances by Lily Tomlin, Anna Deveare Smith (who I love), and others.

The night's first inductee was Richard Linklater, who joked about all the times he and Robert Rodriguez are mistaken for each other.

Thanks to the Statesman that tradition continues:

Bill Paxton was inducted next. He was very humble and charming. He spoke about the difference between being nominated by your peers in the industry and being honored by your home state.

Next, Betty Buckley who is most known for her amazing work on Broadway, was inducted. She was introduced by a still stunning Phyllis George who we saw before the dinner and looked as good close up as she did on the gigantic screens. Buckley spoke about the great tradition of Texas women, a theme echoed through the night.

Lance Armstrong appeared to induct the Dixie Chicks for some "soundtrack award." Armstrong told of one of the first "get well" cards he received after he was diagnosed with cancer: Ann Richards wrote: Lance, What a rotten deal."

The Dixie Chicks, well two of them, anyway, were there and were very moving in their acceptance.

The last inductee was Elizabeth Avellan, the producer of Desperado, Spy Kids, Sin CIty, Grindhouse, etc. (along with her now-estranged husband Robert Rodriguez). Her induction by the group she and Rodriguez had cofounded could have been all kinds of awkward. She handled everything very gracefully, thanking first God, then her parents, then her "partner of 18 years and the father of my 6 children."

She said that "filmaking is a combination of going to summer camp and going to war." That's one of the best descriptions I've heard.

It was a long evening (5 hours!). I bumped into some old friends, and M and I were the guests of some wonderful people, so we enjoyed ourselves.

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