Kevin Spacey thanked the Italian National Cinema Museum for having ‘the balls’ to host him as he accepted the Stella della Mole (Lifetime Achievement) Award in Turin.
The actor, 63, said he felt ‘truly blessed and grateful’ to be honored at the ceremony on Monday, ahead of a sexual assault trial in June.
He strenuously denies the criminal charges brought against him that will be heard at a trial in London in June.
Grateful: Kevin Spacey thanked the Italian National Cinema Museum for having ‘the balls’ to host him as he accepted the Stella della Mole (Lifetime Achievement) Award in Turin
He dressed in a tux and gave a masterclass while being celebrated for contributing to the growth of cinema – a decision that has proven controversial in the country.
Kevin – who saw a series of allegations made against him in the wake of the #MeToo movement – also introduced a screening of his 1999 film American Beauty.
He told the audience: ‘The first performance that I ever gave was in my junior high school drama class. It was a little five-minute scene that we had to create, with no words.
‘But we could have music. I was 11 years old. And I decided to do a Western scene, so that I could play a cowboy. Well, a bank robber. The bad guy, of course.
Speech: The actor, 63, said he felt ‘truly blessed and grateful’ to be honored at the ceremony on Monday, ahead of a new sexual assault trial in June
I have been so honored to have been part of the creative process with so many remarkable people. Filmmakers, artists and technicians I have had the chance to work with.
‘Who would not consider tonight the perfect opportunity to say, ‘Thank you!’ You are not just honoring me. You are honoring all of them.
‘I am truly blessed and grateful and humbled. And my heart is very full tonight towards the National Museum of Cinema for having had the nerve to invite me tonight.’
‘Le palle’ translates as ‘a pair’ in England – used by Italians as ‘having the balls’. He then thanked his manager Evan Lowenstein for his loyalty.
Kevin added: ‘It’s almost impossible to tell you all what he has done. The degree of guidance and wisdom that he has brought to my life. He is unlike anyone.
Suited and booted: Kevin dressed in a classic black tux and red bow tie for the occasion
Evan has not only stood beside me. He has stood in front of me when I needed to be led and stood behind me when I needed to be pushed.
‘He is a remarkable man and it has been his ability to take whatever setbacks we’ve faced and somehow get up and keep moving forward.
And that has given me the strength to somehow stand up and follow him. I am truly blessed to have you as my brother. The brother I never had, so thank you.’
The sold-out events were billed as Kevin’s first speaking engagements since the #MeToo-era allegations.
Odd decision: He gave a masterclass while being celebrated for contributing to the growth of cinema – a decision that has proven controversial in the country
The actor – who filmed his most recent movie, director Franco Nero’s The Man Who Drew God, in Turin – appeared to be in good spirits, smiling happily while putting on an animated display during his time on stage.
The two-time Academy Award winner lost his starring role on the Netflix series House of Cards and saw other opportunities dry up after sexual abuse allegations emerged in 2017.
Speaking in November 2022 when the award was announced, the museum’s president Enzo Ghigo said: ‘We are honored that such a prestigious guest as Kevin Spacey chose Turin and our museum for this long-awaited return to an event with an audience.
Multiple duties: Kevin – who saw a series of allegations made against him in the wake of the #MeToo movement – also introduced a screening of his 1999 film American Beauty
Now, among all the cities of the world, he chose Turin for a master class. He couldn’t give us a better present than this,’ Domenico De Gaetano, the director of the national museum who will moderate the masterclass, was also quoted as saying.
The decision to award Spacey with the gong has been met with widespread controversy with the actor at the center of several sexual abuse allegations.
Previous winners of the Stella della Mole Award include actors Isabella Rossellini and Monica Bellucci, and director Dario Argento.
Kevin’s acceptance of the award comes as the Oscar-winner spoke out, days after denying seven more sex offense charges against a man in the early 2000s in a London court on Friday.
Animated: Kevin put on an animated display during his time on stage
The Hollywood outcast told Italian news agency Ansa that he has tried to live each day as it comes, and that he has not ‘gone to live in a cave’.
He said: ‘I live my life each day, I go to the restaurant, I meet people, I drive, I play tennis, I’ve always met generous, genuine and compassionate people.
I haven’t hidden away, I haven’t gone to live in a cave. What you see in the media is not real life, I’m not getting my public life back because I’ve never left it’.
Among the accusations against the Hollywood star are sexual touching, touching over clothing, and forcing the complainant’s hand against his privates over clothing.
Delighted: He appeared to be in good spirits, smiling happily during the ceremony
Spacey faced the charges at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, having previously denied five allegations relating to three other men who are now in their 30s and 40s.
The new charges include three counts of indecent assault, three counts of sexual assault and one count of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent, on unspecified dates between 2001 and 2005.
Spacey, appearing at Southwark Crown Court in London by video link, confirmed his identity and pleaded not guilty to all seven of the charges against him.
Sold out: The sold-out events were billed as Kevin’s first speaking engagements since the #MeToo-era allegations
He now faces a total of 12 charges relating to four men between 2001 and 2013.
The two-time Academy Award winner, known for his starring roles in American Beauty, The Usual Suspects and House Of Cards, appeared at the Old Bailey in July last year to deny the five previous charges.
He pleaded not guilty to four charges of sexual assault and one count of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.
The first two charges relate to alleged sexual assaults on a man, now in his 40s, in London on March 20, 2005.
The second alleged victim, a man now in his 30s, claims he was sexually assaulted by Spacey in London on August 31, 2008.
Spacey also faces a serious sexual offense charge of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent relating to the second alleged victim.
He faces a fourth charge of sexual assault against the third complainant, now in his 30s, in Gloucestershire in April 2013.
Controversial: The decision to award Spacey with the gong has been met with widespread controversy with the actor at the center of several sexual abuse allegations
Speaking of Spacey’s five initial charges, his defense barrister Patrick Gibbs, KC, said: ‘Mr Spacey strenuously denies any and all criminality in this case.’
The actor has vowed to ‘establish his innocence’.
Spacey has been granted unconditional bail and will face a four-week trial on all charges on June 6. A pre-trial review is due to take place on April 5.
In October last year, the actor, who was artistic director at The Old Vic between 2004 and 2015, won a civil lawsuit in the US where he was accused of an ‘unwanted sexual advance’ at a party in 1986.
In that lawsuit, Spacey ‘categorically denied’ the accusations and said he ‘did not harbor any sexual interest or desire’ at the time or since the alleged incident.
On October 20 last year, a jury found Spacey not liable, with the New York Court dismissing the sexual assault lawsuit against the actor.
Speaking out: The Hollywood outcast recently told Italian news agency Ansa that he has tried to live each day as it comes, and that he has not ‘gone to live in a cave’