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Ewan McGregor received not only a Lifetime Achievement Award, but lots of love and adoration during a brief but emotional ceremony at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival on Saturday night.
During the major film festival event in the Czech spa town, organizers and fans alike celebrated the Scottish actor, director and producer as he was presented with the President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement. On the festival’s opening night on Friday, Alicia Vikander received the same award, while Russell Crowe was presented with the festival’s Crystal Globe.
A warm welcome to McGregor from a host was followed by a particularly well-received career highlight reel that repeatedly drew laughter and applause for scenes from the likes of Star Wars universe, I love you Philip Morris and naturally, Trainspotting.
“It’s like a dream to see him,” McGregor told the audience at the Hotel Thermal, the site of much of the Karlovy Vary festival activity, after taking the stage to a long, raucous applause and many cheers to receive the statue. “It was my childhood dream to be an actor. And that’s the thing of dreams, to see that reel.
McGregor later joked that he was going to do some Czech on stage, but decided against it after the reaction to his Czech practice. “Someone called an ambulance because he thought you had a medical emergency,” he joked.
Instead, she decided to keep things short and simple, saying, “Thank you so much for being here tonight. And it just means the world to me. I believe so much in what we do as actors. I am so lucky to do what I love and I love what I do.
The winner of a Golden Globe, an Emmy, two European Film Awards and numerous other awards then presented his new film You sing louder, I sing louder, in which he appears alongside his daughter Clara. The honoree described her acting with her daughter as a highlight of what she did.
He then invited Clara on stage and she said to the audience, “This is a complete dream” and called director Emma Westenberg. “She’s definitely her father’s daughter,” the director shared about the young actress, calling her “incredibly talented.” They were then joined on stage by other members of the creative team, including veteran independent film producer Christine Vachon, to whom the Karlovy Vary Fest is paying homage this year.
“Thank you all,” McGregor said in closing before he and the rest of the creative team left the stage for another round of thunderous cheers and applause.
“Ewan McGregor is one of the most outstanding actors working today,” festival organizers said ahead of the celebration. “His vast filmography is a unique combination of the tradition of British cinema with the grandeur of Hollywood productions. He began his acting career in the 90s after graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama when he landed his first roles in television series. Most importantly, though, he began working with director Danny Boyle. His role in dark comedy Shallow grave (1994) earned him an Empire Award for Best British Actor and their next joint film, Trainspotting (1996), was an international sensation. The second most successful British film of all time, Trainspotting (like its source material, the novel by Irwin Welsh) has become a cult hit.
McGregor and Boyle worked together again in the 1997 romantic comedy A less ordinary lifein which McGregor starred with Cameron Diaz.
Among many others, the Karlovy Vary team also highlighted films set in the music world such as 1998’s Little Voicedirected by Mark Herman, and Todd Haynes’ glam-rock drama Velvet Gold Mine; war drama Black Hawk Down (2001) by Ridley Scott; The musical by Baz Luhrmann Red Mill! (2001); Woddy Allen’s Romantic Mystery Cassandra’s Dream (2007); Ron Howard’s adaptation of Dan Brown’s bestseller Angels & Demons opposite Tom Hanks (2009); and Roman Polanski’s thriller The ghost writer (2010).
In 2016, Ewan McGregor made his directorial debut with a film adaptation by Philip Roth American pastoral care, in which he played the lead role. In 2017, she teamed up again with Boyle for T2 Trainspottingwhich revisited the main protagonists of the cult classic.
Star Wars fans may know McGregor better as Obi-Wan Kenobi, an iconic role in which he first embodied Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) and more recently in the Disney+ series of the same name.
McGregor won a Golden Globe in the category of Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film for his work on the third season of the series Fargo (2017). In 2021, he won the Emmy Award for Lead Actor in a Limited Series for his role in the Netflix show Halston. McGregor’s European Film Award honors came for Red Mill! AND The ghost writer.
You sing louder, I sing louder premiered at South by Southwest. It’s a dramatic road trip, inspired by the real-life stories of the father-daughter duo. Clara also co-wrote the screenplay, with Vera Bulder and Ruby Caster.
McGregor is currently filming the miniseries A gentleman in Moscowwhich is also producing.
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival opened on Friday evening with Karim Aïnouz’s costume drama Burning ember, with Vikander as Catherine Parr, the last wife of Jude Law’s Henry VIII, sandwiched between musical performances by British duo Morcheeba and Crowe and band. The 57th edition of the festival will conclude on July 8, with its judging panel including Patricia Clarkson.