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Grazer accepted the award from Alain Terzian, president of the French academy, before he was joined on stage by co-producer Mick Jagger, director Tate Taylor and star Chadwick Boseman.
The Oscar winner joked that he hired a professional translator to take his French test in college, but he still gamely thanked the many French film figures that were in the audience. He also thanked his “partner and best friend, Ron Howard” for their many collaborations.
Before the ceremony, Grazer told The Hollywood Reporter that the proliferation of outlets and the quick consumption of content has changed the impact of a film.
“The long-tail experience of a movie has less impact on the culture than it did 20 years ago,” he said. “Even the biggest blockbusters and even the biggest success of this year have much less influence over society and the culture than they used to,” he said, citing classics including The Exorcist and A Beautiful Mind.
“I don’t know if movies can have the same impact on the culture that they used to have 10 years ago before technology really entered, leveraging scale into the platform,” Grazer said. “I think movies now — even if they are successful — are more disposable.”
“I don’t want to name movies this year, but there are movies that came out this year that made many hundreds of millions of dollars, and you don’t even remember them,” he added.
While Taylor congratulated Grazer on the honor, he noted that it is not to be confused with a lifetime achievement award “because he’s not finished yet.”
When asked what he has yet to achieve in his career, Grazer noted that he hasn’t been on a best-seller list. He hopes to change that with his upcoming book called A Curious Mind, in which he recounts his meetings with influential figures outside of the entertainment industry including Carl Sagan and Jonas Salk.
“These sessions have become a lot of the movies I have made,” he said, citing his meeting with John Nash, which led to the Oscar-winning film A Beautiful Mind.
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Portia de Rossi
James Gordon Meek