Bravo to the American Cinematheque for singling out a comedian, Ben Stiller, for its 26th annual achievement award. He is more than worthy. But this choice does serve to highlight the growing gap between the Cinematheque tribute, which tends to veer toward stars in their moneymaking prime, and the American Film Institute achievement award, which often hits stars at the senior end of their career trajectory.
The AFI’s last few award recipients include Shirley MacLaine, Morgan Freeman, Mike Nichols, Michael Douglas and Warren Beatty, while the Cinematheque Award has gone to Robert Downey, Jr., Matt Damon, Samuel L. Jackson, Julia Roberts and George Clooney.
Colleagues and friends will sing Stiller’s praises at a Beverly Hilton benefit gala on November 15. This award comes after one of Stiller’s more embarrassing efforts, “The Watch,” which makes us nostalgic for the likes of “Zoolander,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “Meet the Fockers” and “Tropic Thunder.”