There are few Hollywood stars more deserving of a career-spanning achievement award than Jeff Bridges, who has been acting since he was an actual infant — the son of the legendary actor Lloyd Bridges and actress and writer Dorothy Bridges made his uncredited debut in John Cromwell’s “The Company She Keeps” when he was less than two years old — and so his Sunday night coronation as the latest winner of the Golden Globes’ Cecil B. DeMille Award seemed nothing if not incredibly appropriate (and perhaps a little overdue).
Bridges, of course, likes to mix things up, and the star of such varied films as “The Big Lebowski,” “The Last Picture Show,” “Tron,” “Hell or High Water,” and “The Mirror Has Two Faces,” offered up a charming, wide-ranging acceptance speech after a loving introduction from fellow actor (and “Hell or High Water” co-star) Chris Pine and a career-spanning montage narrated by Sam Elliott (who, of course, also served as the narrator on “Lebowski”).
In his speech, Bridges joked about worrying over getting in all the necessary thank-yous for all the people who had contributed to his career, sagely cracking that movie-making is a “collaborative art form” that requires many talents to work. Of those he singled out, he nodded to his many great directors, including the Coen Brothers (who he hopes to work with for “the rest of his life”), “Crazy Heart” helmer Scott Cooper, and “Heaven’s Gate” filmmaker Michael Cimino.
And while Bridges didn’t get overtly political in his comments, he did implore the audience to not forget how everyone connects to each other, aided by a colorful metaphor involving no less than Buckminster Fuller’s “trim tab” philosophy, which centers around the concept that a small rudder mechanism can help steer an entire trip (and thus how a single person can impact society).
“I like to think of myself as a trim tab, and all of us are trim tabs,” he said. “It may seem like we’re not up to the task, but we are, man, we’re alive! We can make a difference. … We can turn this ship in the way we want to go, man, towards love, creating a healthy planet for all of us!”
The HFPA’s version of a lifetime achievement award, the Cecil B. DeMille Award is given to recipients for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.” Named after the legendary director of such films as “The King of Kings,” “Samson and Delilah” and “The Ten Commandments,” the award was first given out in 1952 and has been doled out continuously since, save for the 1976 and 2008 ceremonies, where it was not awarded to anyone.
Honorees over the decades include George Clooney, Robert De Niro, Audrey Hepburn, Harrison Ford, Jodie Foster, Sophia Loren, Sidney Poitier, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, Barbra Streisand, Denzel Washington, Robin Williams, Oprah Winfrey, and many more.
Bridges previously won the Academy Award for Best Actor for the 2009 film “Crazy Heart” and, over the course of a career that has spanned nearly his entire life, also earned Academy Award nominations for his roles in six other films and Golden Globe nods for five.
This year’s 76th annual Golden Globe Awards was hosted by “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” actor Andy Samberg and “Killing Eve” star Sandra Oh, and took place at The Beverly Hilton. Earlier in the evening, five-time Golden Globe Award winner and sixteen-time Golden Globe Award nominee Carol Burnett received the first-ever Golden Globe television special achievement award, the very appropriately named Carol Burnett Award.