The cool breeze blowing in from the Pacific met bright lights on the deck of the Coral Casino last Friday, November 19 as Hollywood players and Santa Barbara International Film Festival patrons gathered to salute Harrison Ford as this year’s Kirk Douglas Award honoree.
Ford’s wife, Calista Flockhart, and Jon Favreau, the director of his current project, the sci-fi blockbuster Cowboys and Aliens, were among those present to cheer on the reticent star as he worked the red carpet, ate dinner to clips from his films, and gave a characteristically modest acceptance speech. Kirk Douglas introduced Ford with his familiar and charming blend of affectionate teasing and one-upsmanship, telling the black-tie crowd that he would have portrayed Indiana Jones himself, “but Harrison Ford got there first.”
Ford stuck to the script about his life that he has recited throughout his career, insisting that he has “the best job in the world” and reminiscing about the day when he could finally stop going back to carpentry between acting jobs.
“I came into the business at a time when there were enormously talented people challenging the Hollywood system,” Ford said, referring to early mentors like George Lucas. “They were changing the way stories were being told, the way films were being made, and I rode on that wave. My success is the success of other really talented people. I was lucky to be part of a really exciting time in this business.”
Guests at the awards dinner certainly shared his sentiments, and demonstrated through their enthusiastic applause that for Harrison Ford, the excitement is still there.