It’s shameful how little recognition Harrison Ford has received for a long acting career in which he’s brought us such iconic characters that have become household names, like Hans Solo in Star Wars, the eponymous Indiana Jones, and Rick Deckard from the Blade Runner films.
And for all this, just one Oscar nomination; no wins, no career achievement honor from the Academy, and not even a medal from the President of the United States for all the entertainment this American icon has delivered.
So, thank goodness for the French!
They had the good sense to present the now 80-year-old screen legend with an honorary Palme d’Or at last month’s Cannes Film Festival. And I was there to see an uncharacteristically emotional Ford get choked up at finally receiving the kind of honor his talents deserve.
“It makes me feel good, I can’t even tell you, it’s just extraordinary, the warmth of this place and the welcome is unimaginable,” said Ford, who really needs to be shown the same kind of love back home in Hollywood, especially considering all the money he’s made for the industry. His films have grossed more than $9.3 billion worldwide.
But that’s no accident. It’s not luck but talent which has kept audiences coming back to see the superstar act over the years.
As he humbly said in his Cannes press conference: “I have been so lucky in my life… but I had the opportunity to learn a bit of craft. Luck will not save the day. There’s craft, skill involved in what we actors do. We know what we’re doing.”
The film industry and the nation have waited far too long to give him the credit he’s due. But what are they waiting for? He’s finished with the Star Wars and Blade Runners franchises, and this month, June 30, sees the release of the final Indiana Jones film, The Dial of Destiny.
Ford is happy to be going out on a high as he hangs up Indy’s hat and whip after playing the crusading archeologist in this fifth film, which co-stars Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Mads Mikkelsen. “I love this character and what it brought into my life,” he said in Cannes.
“I wanted to see a completion of the five films. I wanted to round out the story and see this man who depended so much on his youth and the vigor of youth—I wanted to see the weight of life on him. I cannot have been better served with a script and with the kind of actors we have been lucky enough to get. Everything has come together to support me in my old age.”
Now I suggest his country and industry need to come together to support him as well.
Ford’s only Oscar nomination—and only BAFTA nomination—came for 1985 crime thriller Witness, where he played a cop protecting an Amish mother and son from criminals. He was beaten to both awards by William Hurt for Kiss of the Spider Woman. Ironically, in his next movie, Ford will replace the late William Hurt in the role of General Thaddeus Ross for the Marvel blockbuster Captain America: New World Order.
But there were at least six other roles for which Ford should have received Oscar recognition, namely The Fugitive, The Mosquito Coast, 42, Working Girl, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and, for me his career best performance, the cruelly overlooked 2015 romance The Age of Adaline, co-starring Blake Lively. I urge you to check it out.
But Hollywood keeps doing this to its greats—Leonardo Di Caprio had to wait until he was 41 to win his first Oscar for The Revenant, Al Pacino was 52 when he finally got his hands on an Oscar for Scent of a Woman, while Paul Newman was 61 when he at last won for The Color of Money.
Harrison Ford is 80—and he’s still waiting.
Meanwhile the President of the United States annually gives out a number of awards to honor entertainers—such as the National Medal of Arts, the National Humanities Medal and the Kennedy Center Honors—which serve as the US equivalent of British knighthoods and OBEs. But no occupant of the White House has yet seen the need to pin a medal on Harrison Ford.
To show how ridiculous that is, even I have an (humanitarian) award from the President of the United States and I don’t have a fraction of Harrison Ford’s talent.
As ageless as he seems, even Harrison Ford won’t be around forever. The time is now to give him the respect—and accolades—he deserves.
To quote Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark, “It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage.”