Rob Reiner and Robin Wright. Photo: Todd V. Wolfson
Cowboy hats galore, an auction and a bevy of famous Texans once again came out for the annual Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards one night prior to the opening of the SXSW Film Festival in the Lone Star state's capital. The annual benefit hosted by the Austin Film Society, founded by director Richard Linklater, inducts actors and filmmakers of film and television with links to Texas into its Hall of Fame.
This year's honorees included Annette O'Toole, actor Henry Thomas, character actor Stephen Tobolowsky and Robin Wright as well as the film Dazed and Confused, which Linklater directed in Austin. Parker Posey had been slated to accept the award on behalf of the film but had to later cancel. Other notable attendees included Quentin Tarantino, Rob Reiner and Julie Hagerty, who presented awards to honorees.
Dana Wheeler-Nicholson served as this year's host. She began the evening taking a shot at Oscars host Seth MacFarlane, promising not to "focus on boobs," referencing the Family Guy creator's eyebrow-raising raising song during that show, and gave a shout out to the late Texas Governor Anne Richards, who long served as the TFHOF host. Held in a newly-converted space that will serve as a stage at the Austin Studios near downtown, the event included a sit-down dinner, followed by a Texas-style auction complete with fast-tongued auctioneer.
Director/actor Rob Reiner joked afterward that one thing the auction didn't have was a "one year affair with Robin Wright" as he took the stage. Wright starred in Reiner's The Princess Bride, which had a 25th anniversary screening last fall at the New York Film Festival complete with Reiner and the cast. "I'm so indebted to Robin Wright," said Reiner. "We went to Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, which was such a privilege. I'm so indebted to you. There would have been no Princess Bride without the 'Princess Bride.'"
"It's so great to get up and do this job… and to receive human stories and observe human stories and to get paid for it," said Wright. Accepting her prize after Wright, actress Annette O'Toole received a rousing response upon noting that she is a seventh generation Texan on her father's side. She also echoed Wright's sentiment when collecting her award as a Hall of Fame inductee: "I've loved performing since I was nine years old. I think sometimes we're the luckiest people alive. You've made me a very happy Texan."
No stranger to The Texas Film Hall of Fame, Quentin Tarantino returned this year to present the award in recognition of Dazed and Confused, which opened 20 years ago. "It was my favorite movie of the 90s," said Tarantino. Added Linklater, "Tonight is a wonderful night and it's the night of the actor. This is a wonderful cast and it was such a great time in their lives."