The Oscars snubbed Clint Eastwood Thursday but Berkeley will welcome him tonight during a sold-out awards ceremony at the Pacific Film Archive.
Actor and director Eastwood will receive the first-ever Berkeley Japan New Vision Award from the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Japanese Studies tonight for his role in creating a new vision of Japan – particularly during World War II – through his award-winning film, “Letters from Iwo Jima,” UC Berkeley officials said.
He will make comments and take a few questions.
The event is sold out but we are told there is a waiting list. Call (510) 642-3156 for more information.
The 2006 film, which is almost entirely in Japanese, tells the story of the famous one-month 1945 battle from the perspective of Japanese soldiers on the island. Civilians were evacuated before U.S. Marines arrived to capture the island’s airfields for use in a planned air assault on Japan. Of 21,000 Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima, more than 20,000 were killed.
“Letters from Iwo Jima’” was a companion piece to Eastwood’s 2006 work “Flags of Our Fathers,” which explored the same event from the viewpoint of U.S. soldiers.
Eastwood, 78, who was born in San Francisco, is married to Dina Ruiz Eastwood, 43, but Cal officials were unsure if the former anchorwoman, who Eastwood met when she interviewed him back in 1993, would accompany him to Berkeley. The two have been married for nearly 13 years.
One place Eastwood won’t be going this year is the stage at the Academy Awards. Although Eastwood made “Gran Torino,” one of the biggest movies of his 50-year career in show business, the drama did not score a single mention when nominations for the awards were announced Thursday, according to published reports. Eastwood has won five Academy Awards in his career.
The screenplay for “Letters from Iwo Jima” was written by Iris Yamashita, a UC Berkeley alumna, but Yamashita will not be able to attend the festivities tonight, UC official said.