The red carpet was out, a fancy dinner was served, Turk Pipkin shot ping pong balls out of his mouth... Last night was just another weird night in Austin—only with a lot more famous faces than usual.
The 13th Annual Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards brought out hundreds of film lovers and some of Hollywood’s biggest stars—many with deep Texas roots.
The annual event raises money for the Austin Film Society. The ceremony honors Texans who have achieved success in the film industry.
The name Stephen Tobolowsky may not sound familiar to everyone. He’s a character actor who has been in hundreds of films and TV shows. You would recognize him from Groundhog Day, Memento or Glee. He’s also a Texan.
He was one of several Texans honored at the Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards and he couldn't be more excited to be back in his home state: "You have a great and exciting climate to do shows in," Toblowsky said. "Great writers, directors come from Texas, and Austin in particular, so it’s a hot bed of ideas."
Thomas thanked Texas and Sissy Spacek for getting him where he is now. He said he'd be working in the (now-defunct) stockyards of San Antonio if it weren't for his role in his first film, Raggedy Man.
Rob Reiner presented an achievement award to Robin Wright. Michael McKean presented another to his wife. (Michael and Annette even sang a song together, which many may recognize from the musical/comedy/parody A Mighty Wind, which premiered at South by Southwest in 2006).
However, the biggest award of the night went to a beloved film from 20 years ago that captured a day in the life of Austin youth during the 1970s.
Quentin Tarantino presented the "Star of Texas" Award to Austinite director, Richard Linklater, and the cast of his classically Austin film, Dazed and Confused. This year the film celebrates its 20th anniversary.
"You really get to know this whole community of people in the course of this film," Tarantino said. "That goes beyond it being in the 70s, and it goes beyond about it being in Texas. It just goes on to [become] a human experience. And those people have gone on the become my friends over the last 20 years that movie has existed."
Linklater agreed. "It's the cast," he said. "They feel like friends. You hang out with them. You like them. People revisit that film because they like hanging out with that cast."
Several members of the film’s large cast were in attendance, including Austin resident Wiley Wiggins. He said he's watched Austin grow tremendously in the 20 years since he played Mitch Kramer.
"It’s been a really positive thing in some ways that Austin has been getting larger and it’s gotten more of a diverse population and different kind of people living here," Wiggins said. "But I really wish our infrastructure would grow a little bit and we would get some decent public transportation."
When all the awards were given out and all the auction winners were announced, the audience and stars headed out to an after party which featured Adrian Quesada of Brownout and Jim Eno of Spoon. But some, like Linklater, are gearing up for SXSW Film Festival activities. His new film, Before Midnight, has its SXSW premiere on Saturday at the Paramount.