“The Board is thrilled to have Robert Redford as the next recipient of the Chaplin Award,” said Ann Tenenbaum, chairman of the Film Society, in announcing the choice. “Not only is he an internationally known and loved actor, director, and producer, but perhaps no other single artist has done more to champion the work of independent filmmakers. This makes him a truly distinguished honoree — the Film Society, the New York Film Festival, and the film world in general are immensely richer because of his contributions.”
The award and gala were introduced in 1972 with Chaplin the inaugural honoree. Subsequent winners include Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Laurence Olivier, Federico Fellini, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, James Stewart, Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Michael Douglas, Sidney Poitier, Catherine Deneuve, Barbra Streisand and, last year, Rob Reiner. Which leaves one only to wonder, what took them so long?