The 14th annual Savannah Film Festival rounded out a full week of special screenings and award presentations by honoring Golden Globe-nominated actor Aaron Eckhart (“The Dark Knight,” “Erin Brockovich”), actor James Marsden (“27 Dresses,” “X-Men”) and the writing/directing brother team of Jay and Mark Duplass (“Cyrus,” “The Puffy Chair”) during the event’s closing weekend.
Accepting the Outstanding Achievement in Film Award before a packed theater, Eckhart thoughtfully reflected on the driving motivation behind his career. “Early on in my career, I had the privilege to work with Morgan Freeman. Every word out of his mouth was perfect, and take after take was flawless. I asked Morgan, ‘How do you do it?’ and, without missing a beat, he turned and looked me in the eye and said, ‘Thirty years.’ I’m halfway there. After 30-plus movies, I continue to ask, ‘How do you do it?’ The perfect film role—perfection—that’s what drives me, and drives me crazy. Every role I’ve always wanted to be real so you, the audience, can have the most pleasurable experience. That’s why I continuously ask, ‘How do you do it?’”
Marsden received the Savannah Film Festival Spotlight Award, which is given to an outstanding young filmmaker. “I moved to L.A. when I was 19, and I’ve been doing this since then. I’ve been doing this for half my life, which just occurred to me today,” he said. “I want to be that guy in his 80’s that people say, ‘You would know him if you saw him. He’s been in everything.’ That’s the actor who’s brave enough to take risks. This award is special because it means I’m doing something right.”
Jay Duplass accepted the SCAD Cinevation Award prior to the screening of the Duplass’ new film “Jeff, Who Lives at Home.” Starring Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Judy Greer and Susan Sarandon, the film follows a man who looks to the universe to determine his path but, through a series of comedic and unexpected events, ends up crossing paths with his family in the strangest locations and circumstances. “I want to commend the festival on your excellent taste for choosing my brother and me for this award,” laughed Duplass. “We feel so lucky and it feels so surreal to receive this award.”
Earlier in the week actress Ellen Barkin (“The Big Easy,” “Ocean’s Thirteen”) and actor Ray Liotta (“Goodfellas,” “Hannibal”) received Outstanding Achievement in Cinema Awards while actress Lily Tomlin (“9 to 5,” “All of Me”) and writer/director Oliver Stone (“Platoon,” “Wall Street”) were honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards.