Russell Crowe was presented with a Taormina Art honor at the Taormina Film Festival in Italy on Saturday, June 15. Crowe, who received it ahead of the screening of his latest film "Man of Steel" at the event, was humbled when a chorus of cheer from the crowd was given to him as Taormina artistic director Mario Sesti welcomed him to the stage.
"This is my first time in Sicily, and you are already giving me an award. I should come here more often," Crowe said, reading from notes, and added, "I have always had a deep love for Italy, even before I became a gladiator," referring to his iconic role in Ridley Scott's "Gladiator", which helped him take home an Oscar for Best Actor.
Of this year's honoree, Sesti said, "From 'A Beautiful Mind' to 'Gladiator', from 'Master and Commander' to 'Man of Steel', Russell Crowe has proved to everyone, spectators and critics alike, that to be a great actor you need both a great physical presence and a great mind: sort of like Taormina, which loves the belly of the moviemaking art - comedies and horror films - and also the high-mindedness of auteur cinema."
Among the previous Taormina Art Award winners are Michael Douglas, Jodie Foster, Robert De Niro, Liam Neeson, Julie Andrews, Maggie Smith, Sean Connery and Tom Cruise.
In "Man of Steel", Crowe portrays Clark Kent's Krypton father Jor-El, the role that was made famous by Marlon Brando in Richard Donner's "Superman" in 1978. Crowe was joined by co-stars Henry Cavill and Amy Adams, who were also on hand for their film's Italy screening, which became the first event of the festival.
The 59th Taormina Festival will run through June 22, with "The Lone Ranger" set to serve as the festival's closer.