Continuing their tradition of turning the AFI‘s signature awards event into a real family affair, the American Film Institute announced today that Jane Fonda will become the 42nd recipient of the prestigious AFI Life Achievement Award on June 5, 2014. The organization said the event will take place in Los Angeles but has not yet disclosed the venue. It will be taped for later airing that month on TNT, followed by encores on Turner Classic Movies.
Henry Fonda was the 6th recipient of the honor in 1978 making the Fondas the first father/daughter to win the prize. In other familial pairings AFI has similarly honored both Kirk (1991) and Michael Douglas (2009) as the only father/son combo and Warren Beatty (2008) and Shirley MacLaine (2012) as the only brother/sister to be named in the history of the award.
For my money Jane Fonda is an inspired choice. A two-time Oscar winner (Klute, Coming Home) and 7-time nominee, she has proven she can do it all, and even after a self-imposed 15-year retirement has come back with a vengeance most recently earning an Emmy nomination for her recurring role in HBO’s The Newsroom. But following in the footsteps of her iconic father and matching him as not only a major film star but adding producer to her credits too, Fonda’s varied — and sometimes controversial — career has truly met the AFI benchmark of “standing the test of time”. The award would be deserved if only for one of her signature achievements in producing and co-starring in the film version of On Golden Pond, the vehicle for which her father won a long overdue Best Actor Oscar (along with Best Actress Katharine Hepburn) shortly before he died. But she also has a great string of classics in addition to her Oscar winners including Cat Ballou, They Shoot Horses Don’t They?, Julia and The China Syndrome. Her most recent Oscar nomination in 1986 was for the wildly underrated Sidney Lumet film The Morning After, one of my favorite Fonda performances. She’s also equally great in comedy, something many people forget, but consider Barefoot In The Park opposite Robert Redford in 1967, 1980’s Nine To Five and even her comeback role opposite Jennifer Lopez in 2005’s Monster-In-Law which turned into a sizable hit.
And don’t even get me started on Barbarella. In terms of AFI Life Achievement, she’s done it all. Here’s the release: (more…)