Kevin Spacey has thanked the Italian National Cinema Museum for having ‘the balls’ to host him as he accepted the Stella della Mole (Lifetime Achievement) Award in Turin on Monday January 16.
The actor, 63, who was dressed in a tux said he felt ‘truly blessed and grateful’ to be honoured at the ceremony ahead of a new sexual assault trial in June.
Kevin – who saw a series of allegations made against him in the wake of the #MeToo movement – also introduced a screening of his 1999 film American Beauty.
He strenuously denies the criminal charges brought against him that will be heard at a trial in London in June.
He told the audience: ‘The first performance that I ever gave was in my junior high school drama class. It was a little five-minute scene that we had to create, with no words.
‘But we could have music. I was 11 years old. And I decided to do a Western scene, so that I could play a cowboy. Well, a bank robber. The bad guy, naturally.
‘I have been so honored to have been part of the creative process with so many remarkable people. Filmmakers, artists and technicians I have had the chance to work with.
‘Who would not consider tonight the perfect opportunity to say, ‘Thank you!’ You are not just honoring me. You are honoring all of them.
‘I am truly blessed and grateful and humbled. And my heart is very full tonight toward the National Museum of Cinema for having had the le palle to invite me tonight.’
‘Le palle’ translates as ‘a pair’ in England – used by Italians as ‘having the balls’. He then thanked his manager Evan Lowenstein for his loyalty.
Kevin added: ‘It’s almost impossible to tell you all what he has done. The degree of guidance and wisdom that he has brought to my life. He is unlike anyone.
‘Evan has not only stood beside me. He has stood in front of me when I needed to be led and stood behind me when I needed to be shoved.
‘He is a remarkable man and it has been his ability to take whatever setbacks we’ve faced and somehow get up and keep moving forward.
‘And that has given me the strength to somehow stand up and follow him. I am truly blessed to have you as my brother. The brother I never had, so thank you.’
The actor – who filmed his most recent movie, director Franco Nero´s The Man Who Drew God, in Turin, appeared to be in good spirits, smiling happily during his time on stage.
The two-time Academy Award winner lost his starring role on the Netflix series House of Cards and saw other opportunities dry up after sexual abuse allegations emerged in 2017.
Speaking in November 2022 when the award was announced, the museum’s president Enzo Ghigo said: ‘We are honoured that such a prestigious guest as Kevin Spacey chose Turin and our museum for this long-awaited return to an event with an audience.