Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody will receive this year’s top honor from the Locarno Film Festival. He will be on hand to accept the prize, the Leopard Club Award, on Aug. 4.
Brody was the youngest actor to win the Academy Award for best actor for his performance in Roman Polanski’s Holocaust drama The Pianist (2002) at the age of 29.
He also won a French Cesar for his role in The Pianist, making him one of only a handful of American actors to hold that distinction. Over his career, he has been nominated for two Emmys, a Golden Globe, an Independent Spirit Award and a BAFTA.
Brody is the son of New York artist Slyvia Plachy. Growing up, he often accompanied his mother on her photography assignments for The Village Voice and credits her for making him feel comfortable in front of a camera. He made his acting debut as a teenager in Francis Ford Coppola’s New York Stories in 1989.
Brody has gone on to have an incredibly varied career, moving between art house and indie cinema — such as Ken Loach’s Bread and Roses, Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line and Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel — and studio fare like King Kong and Predators.
“Adrien Brody has worked with some of the great American directors, from Coppola to Wes Anderson, from Malick to Soderbergh, always displaying the adaptability and technical skills that put him at ease in a remarkable spectrum of performing registers,” said Locarno’s artistic director Carlo Chatrian, adding that the actor’s performance in The Pianist “won him a lasting place in movie-lovers’ hearts, not so much for the Academy Award it brought him, as for the way he brought to life a character who is both a man like all of us and the symbol of a tragedy which we must constantly recall.”
As part of its tribute to Brody, the festival will host a public screening of The Pianist at the Piazza Grande, Europe’s largest outdoor screening venue. Brody will also meet with attendees to discuss his career.
He next stars in Paul Solet’s De Niro and as Charles V in Lee Tamahori’s Emperor.
Locarno’s Leopard Club Award, named after the association which supports the festival, honors a film personality whose work is judged to have made “a lasting impact on the collective imagination.” Previous winners include Faye Dunaway, Mia Farrow and Italian actress Stefania Sandrelli.
The 70th Locarno Film Festival is set to run Aug. 2-12. Other honorees this year will include Toni Erdmann producer Michel Merkt and director Jean-Marie Straub.