Glenn Close Receives Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award in San Sebastian

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SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain – The 59th San Sebastian International Film Festival honored Glenn Close with the Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award, handed to her by friend and director Rodrigo Garcia.

“It’s a spectacular career that speaks for itself with some characters that have become historic,” Garcia said in his introduction, before calling her “playful and curious” and saying she hasn’t lost an “ounce of her very fertile perfectionism that doesn’t wear anyone down, but includes them in the journey and inspires.”

A beaming Close basked in the standing ovation before thanking the festival and San Sebastian first in the local Basque language and then in English.

“This is the first lifetime achievement award I’ver received. And what I am thinking of is the army of people I have collaborated with over the course of my career. They have inspired me. Challenged me.”

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Calling actors the “alien nation,” Close said that actors make people believe. “Everyone wants to believe something. And we can remind people how connected we are. That, to me, is a priviledge. I pledge to continue to find stories that I hope you will love and characters that you can find a common thread of humanity with.”

Earlier in the day, Close talked to reporters about her work in Rodrigo Garcia’s gender-bending Albert Nobbs, how difficult it is to find work as an over-35 woman in Hollywood and her possibilities for an Oscar.

“I think it’s a story that carries a lot of resonance today,” Close said about the film she wrote, produced and starred in after waging a 15 year campaign to see it to fruition. “Albert Nobbs is about everyone’s wanting to feel safe and connected.”

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Close even burst into song on demand at the press conference, blushing afterwards, and explaining how she sang a song from Sunset Boulevard while courting financing for the film at a dinner in Texas. She said she was delighted that not one penny of the financing had come from Hollywood and that the project had brought financing from people entirely removed from filmmaking to the table.

But questions about the ever elusive Oscar award were most persistent.

“It would be wonderful to be nominated for an Oscar. It’s been a few years. But when I started in this career, I decided not to be motivated by money or awards, only to choose well-written scripts and stories I wanted to tell,” Close said.

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However, referencing the Donostia Awards ceremony that would take place in a few hours, it was clear how much the award meant to her.

“I’m incredibly moved. When you start in this career, you never know where your next job will come. You make choices for personal reasons and then you get to a stage where you have a body of work and you had only hoped to not compromise yourself. It is very special to be honored for something as fragile as the life of an actor.”

So what’s next for Close?

“I would like to start writing again, but starting with a blank page. I’ve never done that and it might be my next challenge. I already have an idea and I think I’d like to do something from scratch.”

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