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DeNiro, Eastwood, Lucas help present early Oscars

Nov 14, 2010 5:33:00 AM - thestate.com
Almost every business has its awards banquets. But when the business is movie making, and the banquet is put on by the folks behind the Oscars, the room glows with serious star power and cinematic history.

Clint Eastwood, Robert DeNiro, George Lucas, Kevin Spacey, Kathryn Bigelow, Josh Brolin and Tony Bennett helped honor winners Saturday at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' second annual Governors Awards. Guests at the private dinner ceremony included Natalie Portman, Hilary Swank, Robert Duvall, Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Marisa Tomei, Patricia Clarkson and James Caan.

All were on hand to celebrate the work of three honorary Oscar winners and writer-director-producer Francis Ford Coppola, who received the Irving G. Thalberg award for producing a string of hits such as "American Graffiti," "The Black Stallion," "Sleepy Hollow" and his own "Apocalypse Now" and "The Godfather II."

DeNiro and Lucas lauded Coppola, who sat at a long table in the center of Hollywood & Highland's Grand Ballroom, surrounded by his family and friends.

"I love you," DeNiro said. "You're an inspiration and one of my biggest influences. You can see it in my acting, in my directing, in my producing, and perhaps most of all in my DeNiro 2010 estate-bottled Pinot Noir."