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American Cinematheque vs. American Film Institute: One's Young, the Other Isn't

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson & Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood August 9, 2012 at 5:02PM

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.
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Ben Stiller
'Zoolander'

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."


 

This article is related to: Ben Stiller, AFI


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.