Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work The Eerie Connection Between 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and 'Tomorrowland' The Eerie Connection Between 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and 'Tomorrowland' Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix Ryan Gosling in Talks for 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Damien Chazelle's 'La La Land' Ryan Gosling in Talks for 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Damien Chazelle's 'La La Land' You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents Watch: The New 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Trailer Has Landed Watch: The New 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Trailer Has Landed Watch the Teaser Trailer for Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' Watch the Teaser Trailer for Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' Watch: This Exclusive Tribeca Trailer Promises a Vérité Southern Gothic in Malick Vein Watch: This Exclusive Tribeca Trailer Promises a Vérité Southern Gothic in Malick Vein 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 'Queen of Earth,' Starring a Gloriously Unhinged Elisabeth Moss, Goes to IFC 'Queen of Earth,' Starring a Gloriously Unhinged Elisabeth Moss, Goes to IFC Cary Fukunaga Takes Over Long-Stalled 'The Alienist' as TV Series Cary Fukunaga Takes Over Long-Stalled 'The Alienist' as TV Series Why the Istanbul Film Festival Cancelled Its 2015 Competition Why the Istanbul Film Festival Cancelled Its 2015 Competition The Dramatic Story Behind Satyajit Ray's 50s Masterpiece 'The Apu Trilogy' (Exclusive) The Dramatic Story Behind Satyajit Ray's 50s Masterpiece 'The Apu Trilogy' (Exclusive) MTV Movie Awards 2015: The Highs, the Lows and the Winners List (Videos) MTV Movie Awards 2015: The Highs, the Lows and the Winners List (Videos) Arthouse Audit: 'Ex Machina' Leads Four Big Openers, Kristen Stewart Opens 'Clouds of Sils Maria' Arthouse Audit: 'Ex Machina' Leads Four Big Openers, Kristen Stewart Opens 'Clouds of Sils Maria' The New Ladder: Anatomy of Indie Women's Picture 'Farah Goes Bang' The New Ladder: Anatomy of Indie Women's Picture 'Farah Goes Bang' Here's the First Image of Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix in Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man' Here's the First Image of Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix in Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man' Kristen Stewart Explains How She Held Her Own with Juliette Binoche in 'Sils Maria'--and Won a Cesar Kristen Stewart Explains How She Held Her Own with Juliette Binoche in 'Sils Maria'--and Won a Cesar Scientists Choose the 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies Ever Scientists Choose the 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies Ever

Things I Learned at the Dazzling AFI Tribute to Jane Fonda: "stay curious"

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! June 6, 2014 at 1:06PM

Jane Fonda drew a wide and starry crowd to the Dolby Theater Thursday night, where the American Film Institute honored her with the 42nd Life Achievement Award, in an evening that appropriately feted the visionary actress' myriad accomplishments from the past, present, and yet-to-come.
2
Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda drew a wide and starry crowd to Hollywood's Dolby Theater Thursday night, where the American Film Institute honored her with the 42nd Life Achievement Award, in an evening that appropriately feted the visionary actress' myriad accomplishments from the past, present, and yet-to-come.

Among attendees were Mel Brooks, Sally Field, Lily Tomlin, Morgan Freeman, Sandra Bullock, Cameron Diaz, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Eva Longoria, Diane Lane, David O. Russell, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, late arrivals Catherine Keener and Nicole Holofcener, and a marvelously beautiful Meryl Streep, who shared anecdotes about their budding friendship on the set of "Julia" (1977). 

"She was smoking, very louche, and had an almost feline alertness," Streep said, in between wisecracks about Fonda's workout collection including the classic "Abs, Buns and Thighs." "Jane deflected her own anxiety and made me, a day player, feel fantastic."

Visibly tickled, and visibly nervous, Jane Fonda sat with brother Peter and son Troy Garity as clips from her luminous career unspooled -- from her awkward start in "Tall Story" opposite Anthony Perkins, to playing the original manic pixie dream girl in "Barefoot in the Park" and a brainy ex-pat journalist in Jean-Luc Godard's "Tout Va Bien," and, of course, the Oscar-winning Bree Daniels in Alan J. Pakula's "Klute."

"Being directed by Alan Pakula was like doing a waltz with Fred Astaire," said Fonda -- who never stopped working even as she began protesting Vietnam, and situated herself on the forefront of the battle for human rights -- in an AFI video interview.

In between clips and tribute speeches, we gulped wine and ate violet cauliflower sea bass from Wolfgang Puck that melted in your mouth, and a distressingly good 64% dark chocolate cake.

Fonda, on the audience camera, struggled to look comfortable as Wanda Sykes, in full-on Barbarella garb, picked on her, and made some jokes of questionable taste -- and context -- about Michael Douglas attributing his throat cancer to excessive amounts of oral sex. "Never mind the drinking and the smoking; it's eating pussy that'll kill you." Okay then.

An also lovely Sally Field's hysterical memories of the early years of their friendship entertained -- "She would show up at lunch, hair wet from the shower, saying 'I just came from a workout' and order nothing but orange juice."

The motif of the night was, really, how does she do it? Fonda has been so prolific, starring in over 50 productions -- including "On Golden Pond" with dad Henry, "They Shoot Horses Don't They," iconic and sexy "Barbarella," women-in-the-workplace comedy "Nine to Five," "which grew out of an organizing movement and built the movement" -- writing several books, being a role model for women, leading political causes, fly-fishing, moose-hunting and, oh yeah, shooting those workout videos.

"She's a boat rocker, a peacenik, a vagina warrior, and more sexually adventuresome than anyone in this room," said "Nine to Five" costar Lily Tomlin in the night's funniest, and best, tribute. "I'm not going to marry you, but I do love you."

"We all pretty much find Jane annoying," Sandra Bullock snapped, as the accolades and achievements piled on and on. Fonda, after a long and uproarious standing ovation, accepting the prize from 2009 AFI honoree Michael Douglas, finally did make her way to the stage.

"I think of the list of extraordinary people who have received this honor," Fonda said, nodding to Brooks, Douglas, Shirley MacLaine, and others in the room. "I'm really happy to be among them. I've worked with and known many real geniuses. So many of them are gone now and I've had to ask myself, 'why didn't I ask them more questions?' Bette Davis and Barbara Stanwyck asked me to give them their AFI Awards and I said, 'of course, I'm honored,' but why didn't I say, 'let's have dinner the week before?'!" Fonda said.

Finally, she left us with a great pearl of wisdom before exiting the stage: "Ask questions. Stay curious. It's much more important to stay interested than to be interesting."

This article is related to: AFI, Jane Fonda, Awards


E-Mail Updates