Munich Film Festival Honors Bryan Cranston With Lifetime Achievement Award

Bryan Cranston

“When you see your likeness tattooed on someone else's butt, you know you've made it,” the 'Breaking Bad' star joked as he accepted Munich's Cinemerit honor for his career in film and TV.

An awards ceremony for actor Bryan Cranston in Munich on Friday night turned into a lovefest, with fans outdoing each other in their praise of the Breaking Bad and Trumbo star.

In addition to the crowds of screaming Germans alongside the red carpet who came out in force to see Cranston receive the Cinemerit Award, the lifetime achievement honor of the Munich International Film Festival, prominent festival guests could also barely contain their excitement.

Sir Peter Jonas, the former head of the Bavarian State Opera and a living legend of the classical music scene, insisted on being the one to deliver a laudatory speech about Cranston. Outing himself as a “true geek” of U.S. TV series and what he called “the crystal meth of binge viewing,” Sir Jonas credited Cranston with “leading the calvary charge” of a new form of television which, he said, “played the long game [telling] Dickensian stories.”

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Sir Jonas said Cranston's ability to move easily between comedy and drama —from Malcolm in the Middle to Breaking Bad — put him “in the vanguard” of actors worldwide and made him “the actor for this more diffuse acting century.”

Onstage, Sir Jonas finished his speech by proving he was “a true fan” and unzipping his jacket to reveal a Breaking Bad T-shirt featuring a image of Cranston as Walter White's sunglasses-and-black-hat-wearing alter ego Heisenberg from the AMC series.

Director Robin Swicord, whose Cranston-starrer Wakefield screened following the Cinemerit ceremony, called Cranston “an actor's actor” and credited international fans of Breaking Bad with raising his profile. 

"If the German audience hadn't embraced Breaking Bad, I don't know if Trumbo or Wakefield would have been made,” she told the Munich audience. “You helped make Bryan Cranston an international name. And the international market is what drives financing of the U.S. independent film business.”

Speaking to THR before the ceremony, a typically humble Cranston said he felt like “the luckiest guy in the world” to be able to make a living as “a working actor” and that he had never anticipated success or fame.

But upon accepting the Cinemerit prize, Cranston admitted he has undoubtedly joined the A-list.

“When you see your image tattooed on somebody else's butt, you know you've made it,” he joked.

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