The Chicago International Film Festival’s annual Summer Gala has presented its career achievement award, the Silver Hugo, to some of the biggest names in Hollywood — including Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Jodie Foster and Nicolas Cage — and will add “Apocalaypse Now” and “The West Wing” star Martin Sheen to the impressive list Friday.
Sheen will be honored at the annual ceremony at AMC River East, which will show a montage of Sheen’s career highlights during the event, as well as his upcoming film, “The Way,” in its entirety. The event will be hosted by WBBM-Ch. 2 Chicago news anchor Bill Kurtis and followed with a reception at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers.
Of the pick of Sheen, Mimi Plauché, head of programming for the Chicago International Film Festival, said: “We look for honorees who have made a significant impact on cinematic history. Martin Sheen certainly fits that criteria through the roles he has played in film and the lasting mark he continues to leave on Hollywood.
“This year, with the (October) release of Emilio Estevez’s ‘The Way,’ we thought it would be perfect timing to pay tribute.”
After the screening, Sheen and his son, Estevez, who directed and stars in “The Way,” will take part in a Q&A with the audience. The crowd is known to be a little on the sophisticated side — as director Quentin Tarantino noted following his Q&A in 2009 — so audience members might want to aim higher than “What’s it like to be Charlie Sheen’s dad?”
The ceremony also has been known to include a surprise guest or two. Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Winona Ryder and Jennifer Connelly were on hand when their “The Dilemma” director, Ron Howard, was honored last year, and Spielberg had a friend of his own in attendance when he was honored in 2006.
“Tom Cruise showed up when the festival honored Spielberg and was the one who presented him with the career achievement award,” Plauché said. “Spielberg was shocked. It was a really fun moment.”