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Director Cary Fukunaga was making what could be considered the most glamorous pit stop in the world between the premieres of his new film Beasts of No Nation in Venice Thursday night – where the film received great reviews and a six-minute standing ovation – and Telluride on Monday.
He made a weekend stopover in Monaco to receive the Princess Grace Award from the actress-turned-royal’s namesake foundation during a gala dinner at the palace hosted by Prince Albert and Princess Charlene. “It’s a weekend of incredible events,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.
The celebration of Fukunaga and Robert Redford, who received the Prince Rainier III Award along with wife Sibylle Szaggars Redford, was a homecoming of sorts for the royal couple, and Princess Charlene greeted guests with a warm “Welcome home,” when addressing the crowd.
“He’s a Hollywood legend. Like many legends, he started with some dubious achievements, robbing banks, stealing cars, getting drunk and dancing barefoot in the park,” joked Prince Albert when introducing Redford. He also noted that 58 Princess Grace Award winners had gone on to have 131 projects in the Sundance Film Festival and labs over the years.
Redford shared the award with his wife, environmental artist Szaggars Redford. The couple came to the stage together, with Szaggars starting their remarks. “It’s truly an honor, and I want to pinch myself,” she said. “Can I do it?” Redford chimed in.
“I was blessed in my career to make mainstream films, but I also wanted to make films that were a bit in the grey zone, where life is more complicated and leaned a little bit more toward independence. So that led to Sundance and putting something back. So what’s my reward? We’re a non-profit, so there’s no money involved. So what’s my reward but to see Cary Fukunaga tonight. To share the stage with Cary is a blessing for me because here’s a product of what our intentions were all about,” said Redford.
It’s the first time in the 33-year history of the US arm of the foundation that the awards ceremony has been held in Monaco, a move which Prince Albert credited to HSH Charlene.
“By moving this gala dinner from city to city over the past three years, the foundation has traced the fabulous journey of Princess Grace from Philadelphia to Los Angeles and now to Monaco. This is a dream come true,” the princess said.
“I have to pay tribute to my wife because it was her idea to bring the awards gala from the Princess Grace Foundation USA here to Monaco and I think it’s a great end of a cycle,” he said. “The great thrill for us is to see that generation after generation still recognize my mother and still think of her as an icon… It’s just amazing for us to see her message and her ideals are still relevant today.”
Host Jane Krakowski admitted it was her first performance at a palace. “I’m trying to keep my cool and not think about all the faux pas or protocol mistakes I could make. But I have to say His Serene Highness and Her Serene Highness are both very chill,” she told The Hollywood Reporter, having hung out with the couple during the opening night reception at the country’s yacht club. There the royals casually chatted with guests and Prince Albert proudly showed off videos of their twins Jacques and Gabriella learning to swim in the palace pool.
The Prince, ever a gentleman, kept tabs on the train of his wife’s custom Dior gown, adjusting it for photo ops. “I’ll probably be doing that all evening,” he joked.
The haute couturier sponsored the evening and company CEO Sidney Toledano credited Princess Charlene with spearheading the two-year-old partnership between the House of Grimaldi and the House of Dior.
Jewelers Fawaz Gruosi of De Grisogono and Yves Piaget were also among the luxury luminaries in attendance, as was Sir Roger Moore, a longtime family friend.
It was the second recognition from the foundation for Fukunaga, who received an emerging talent award in 2005 that provided funding while he was researching his first film. It was serendipitous to be receiving the award alongside Redford, he noted, because that script was accepted into the Sundance labs the following year. “I feel more than anything there’s a sense of intimacy between the Princess Grace Foundation and its former alumni. They always keep in contact with me and keep up with what I am doing and encourage me,” he said.
“The fact that she gave so much, she wasn’t just an actress, she gave to society in such a wonderful way. And we’re here to sustain that pledge,” Redford told THR earlier in the evening. Redford said he had never met Princess Grace in person, but shared a story of a naively misguided attempt to show up at the palace to introduce himself when he was traveling through Europe in the 1960s. On that attempt he didn’t get past the guards he said, adding: “But here I am, finally, tonight.”
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