The Gene Siskel Film Center (GSFC) of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) honored one of Hollywood’s most versatile, engaging actors when they presented Kevin Spacey with the Gene Siskel Film Center Renaissance Award Saturday, May 13, at the Four Seasons Chicago.
The evening celebrated the two-time Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG and Tony award-winner’s accomplishments throughout his illustrious career and gave the over 300 attendees the rare opportunity to listen in as Spacey spoke with actor and Chicago’s own Jeremy Piven in a far-ranging Q & A.
As guests entered the grand ballroom they were greeted by event co-chairs, Eda Davidman and Melissa Sage Fadim (longstanding GSFC supporters and Advisory Board members) before hearing from GSFC Director of Programming Barbara Scharres, who welcomed both Piven and Spacey to the stage. A lively, anecdote-filled conversation about Spacey’s career, influences and outlook on his life on Broadway and in Hollywood followed. A retrospective of film clips from Spacey’s most memorable performances accompanied the conversation.
The evening also featured personal videos from friends of Spacey including Annette Bening, Peter Gallagher, Samuel L. Jackson, Lionel Richie, past Renaissance Award recipient and GSFC Advisory Board member Robert Downey, Jr. and the wife of the late Gene Siskel and GSFC Advisory Board member Marlene Iglitzen.
To conclude the evening, President of the School of the Art Institute Elissa Tenny and Chairman of the GSFC Advisory Board Ellen Sandor presented Spacey with the Renaissance Award. Spacey gave an hilarious and humble acceptance speech remarking on film criticism and thanking the GSFC for the honor.
The annual fundraiser raised over $370,000 to support the Gene Siskel Film Center’s eclectic film programming as well as lecture series and discussions with visiting scholars and filmmakers. The funding will provide students and the Chicago community the opportunity to, not only see the best in the cinematic arts, but to also engage with filmmakers.
Past Renaissance Award honorees have included William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman, Michael Mann, Nicole Kidman, George Lucas, Robert Downey Jr., Jamie Foxx, Reese Witherspoon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson.
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