Julie Andrews, the English star of such classic movies as Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, will get the Golden Lion for Career Achievement at the 76th Venice Film Festival, coordinators said Friday.
The choice was made by the board of the Biennale di Venezia, led by Paolo Baratta, in view of a proposition made by celebration chief Alberto Barbera.
“I am so honored to have been selected as this year’s recipient of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement,” Andrews said in a statement. “The Venice Film Festival has long been recognized as one of the world’s most esteemed international film festivals. I thank the Biennale for this acknowledgement of my work, and I look forward to being in that beautiful city in September for this very special occasion.”
Said Barbera: “This Golden Lion is the well-deserved recognition of an extraordinary career, which has admirably parsed popular success with artistic ambition, without ever bowing to facile compromises.”
The celebration chief proceeded: “At a very young age, Ms. Andrews made a name for herself in the music halls of London and, later, on Broadway thanks to her remarkable singing and acting talent. Her first Hollywood movie, Mary Poppins, gave her top-tier star status, which was later confirmed in another treasured film, The Sound of Music. Those two roles projected her into the Olympus of international stardom, making her an iconic figure adored by several generations of moviegoers.”
Included Barbera: “Above and beyond the different interpretations that can be given to her two most famous films (and highlighting the transgressive value of her characters rather than their apparent conservatism), it must be remembered that Andrews went out of her way to avoid remaining confined as an icon of family movies. She accepted roles that were diverse, dramatic, provocative and imbued with scathing irony.” As precedents, he refered to The Americanization of Emily by Arthur Hiller and films coordinated by her husband Blake Edwards (Victor/Victoria).
The celebration is set to run Aug. 28-Sept. 7.