Vanessa Redgrave honoured by American Academy in London
The actress and political activist Vanessa Redgrave has been honoured by the Oscar-awarding Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at an unprecedented ceremony in London.
The retrospective of her work at the Curzon Soho cinema – hosted by the writer David Hare – was the first of its kind, hosted by the Academy – outside the United States. It was attended by fellow film-makers including James Earl Jones – who’s currently co-starring with her on the London stage in Driving Miss Daisy, Ralph Fiennes – who’s just directed her in the modern-day take on Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, and Meryl Streep – whose first film role was in the 1977 film Julia, for which Redgrave won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.
Streep says that seeing Redgrave make an anti-Zionist speech, on collecting her Oscar, made her realise that fame was not just about vanity, but could be used to make a difference.
Other actors paying tribute to Redgrave included Liam Neeson, Jane Fonda and Dame Eileen Atkins.
Introducing clips of her films, Hare said Vanessa Redgrave was one of a generation of actresses who went on to be so much more interesting than their early stereotyping allowed.
She has appeared in more than a hundred films since her debut, Behind the Mask, in 1958. As well as her high-profile left-wing activism, she’s also worked as an ambassador for the United Nations humanitarian agency UNICEF.