Press release: Actor, director, writer and producer George Clooney was honored with the American Film Institute's 46th AFI Life Achievement Award — America's highest honor for a career in film — on Thursday, June 7, in an evening filled with laughter, stories, music and emotion at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. TNT will premiere the hour-and-a-half special, The 46th AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to George Clooney, on Thursday, June 21, at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT, followed by an encore at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT. Sister network Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will also air the special in September 2018 during a night of programming dedicated to Clooney's work. This marks the sixth year the Emmy-winning AFI special will air on Turner networks.
Paying tribute to Clooney were presenters, performers and guests including: Jennifer Aniston, Cate Blanchett, Don Cheadle, Amal Clooney, Nick Clooney, Courteney Cox, Cindy Crawford, Miley Cyrus, Laura Dern, Richard Donner, David Foster, Andy García, Rande Gerber, Diane Keaton, Anna Kendrick, Jimmy Kimmel, Richard Kind, Norman Lear, Shirley MacLaine, Julianna Margulies, Bill Murray, Juliana Paes, Ivan Reitman, Jason Reitman, Carole Bayer Sager, Jane Seymour and Edward Zwick.
Welcome remarks were made by Sir Howard Stringer, Chair of the AFI Board of Trustees, and Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. Groundbreaking cinematographer and AFI Conservatory alumna Rachel Morrison was awarded the 2018 Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal for her commitment to excellence in film and television. This year, Morrison became the first woman ever nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography with Mudbound, as well as the first woman ever to shoot in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Black Panther.
The Tribute to George Clooney began with a special video introduction from President Barack Obama, who described the honoree as "a good man, a good friend, a good citizen and an outstanding maker of film. This Life Achievement Award is well-deserved." The video was followed by remarks from Diane Keaton (2017 AFI Life Achievement Award recipient) and a hilarious roast from Jimmy Kimmel. Along with moving and entertaining anecdotes from Clooney's colleagues past and present, as well as from his father Nick Clooney and wife Amal Clooney, the event featured a musical performance of the classic blues song "Man of Constant Sorrow" from O Brother, Where Art Thou? by Miley Cyrus. Clooney's longtime friends and collaborators Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt also provided video tributes.
At event's end, Shirley MacLaine (2012 AFI Life Achievement Award recipient) presented the honor to Clooney. In her speech, MacLaine said, "The humanity in you is what has always caught my attention," adding, "Please use your imagination for the future of all of us."
In accepting the prestigious honor, George Clooney said, "I want to thank everyone who came out tonight to say such incredibly nice things about me — I love every rotten one of you." He concluded the evening by quoting Edward R. Murrow. "From the words of someone who's much more intelligent, and whose words we probably need now more than ever," Clooney said, "'Good night, and good luck.'"
Proceeds from the Gala support the Institute's national education programs and the preservation of American film heritage. Sponsors of the 46th AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute include Audi, American Airlines, Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, Italian National Tourist Board, Lake Como, NBCUniversal Networks International and VIZIO.