The Academy Celebrates Vanessa Redgrave at Unprecedented Tribute in London

Vanessa Redgrave in Coriolanus

Just one night after presenting James Earl Jones with an honorary Oscar at the London theater where he and Vanessa Redgrave are currently starring in a West End production of Driving Miss Daisy, the Academy tonight honored Redgrave with a special tribute -- the first of its kind to ever be held in Europe, entitled “An Academy Salute to Vanessa Redgrave” -- in celebration of her more than half-century of work in film.

Redgrave is one of the most celebrated members of one of the all-time great acting families. She is the daughter of the late Michael Redgrave and the late Rachel Kempson, the older sister of the late Lynn Redgrave and the late Corin Redgrave, and the mother of the late Natasha Richardson and Joely Richardson. She has given standout performances in many memorable films, including Blow-Up (1966), Morgan! (1966), Isadora (1968), Mary, Queen of Scots (1971), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Julia (1978), The Bostonians (1984), Howards End (1992), Girl, Interrupted (1999), and Atonement (2007). And she has received six Oscar nominations -- four for best actress and two for best supporting actress -- winning in the latter category for Julia.

Now 74, Redgrave remains as busy as ever. She has given standout performances in three films released this year: Larysa Kondracki's The Whistleblower, Roland Emmerich's Anonymous, and Ralph Fiennes's directorial debut Coriolanus. Indeed, her show-stopping performance in Coriolanus as Volumnia, the mother of the title character (who is portrayed by Fiennes himself), could bring her another best supporting actress Oscar nod -- and possibly even another statuette.

The Academy's invitation-only event, which was held at the Curzon Soho cinema complex, was introduced by former Academy president Sid Ganis, hosted by Sir David Hare, and attended by Jones, Richardson, Fiennes (who left the set of his current film in order to help fete Redgrave), Meryl Streep (Redgrave's co-star in the aforementioned Julia, who I'm told is in London screening Phyllida Lloyd's The Iron Lady for select journalists), Jane Fonda (who also worked with Redgrave in Julia), Dame Eileen Atkins (Redgrave's co-star in the 1975 TV series Arena, 1997 film Mrs. Dalloway, and 2007 film Evening), and Liam Neeson (the actor who was married to Redgrave's daughter Natasha), many of whom addressed the crowd about Redgrave during the ceremony.