De Niro called the 'Godfather' director 'an inspiration' while Lucas said Coppola is a teacher as well as a leader in his field of work.
Robert De Niro and George Lucas paid tribute to producer/director Francis Ford Coppola on Saturday, November 13 when he was honored with a prestigious lifetime achievement award. The "Godfather" director was handed the coveted Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for his work as a producer at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Governors Awards in Los Angeles.
The night saw many stars take to the stage to honor Coppola, with De Niro calling him "an inspiration and one of my biggest influences". "Star Wars" creator Lucas added, "(Coppola) taught me how to write. He taught me how to direct. He actually personified a whole era of the American film industry. He was our leader. He was our inspiration."
Other stars honored at the ceremony included historian Kevin Brownlow, director Jean-Luc Godard and actor Eli Wallach. Kevin Spacey presented Brownlow with his trophy, while Clint Eastwood took to the stage to honor Wallach, branding him "a great performer and a great friend".