There was comedy royalty in the forefront of the evening in the form of father-and-son funnymen Carl and Rob Reiner. The senior Reiner introduced the younger, whose charming Flipped movie won as Best Intergenerational Film. He described baby Robbie as being so alert he never slept, and he memorized part of Hamlet's soliloquy by the age of 2 1/2 — which the elder Reiner imitated in a toddler voice, complete with "swings and arrows." When Rob's turn at the microphone came, he began by saying, "I want to thank my father for making love to my mother 64 years ago."
Throughout the evening, opened by AARP The Magazine Editor Nancy Perry Graham, winners paid tribute and thanks to Redford, who was seated at the front center table. Andy Garcia, for instance, took time from his acceptance speech for his City Island Best Comedy statuette to acknowledge Redford's enduring contribution to the independent filmmaking world with his Sundance Film Institute and Film Festival.
Introduced by Field, a friend and 15-year board member of his Sundance Institute, the movie titan and committed environmentalist gamely waited out a long, enthusiastic standing ovation before making his remarks.
"Honors and accolades are always flattering and they're entirely welcome, and you're forever grateful, as I am tonight," Redford acknowledged. "But to me, it's always been about the work. It's always been about that climb up the mountain, because it's that climb and the struggle and the joy of the climb you remember."
He said, "I like to think that's what carries me forward — knowing that success and the accolades are fleeting, they come and they go, but the work remains. The only thing you can do is just keep trying, and you do the very best you can. T.S. Eliot said, 'There is only the trying, the rest is not our business.' "