57th San Francisco International Film Festival will Present Peter J. Owens Award to Jeremy Irons

Actor Will Receive Honor at Film Society Awards Night and Onstage Tribute at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas


The San Francisco Film Society has announced that Jeremy Irons, one of world cinema's most compelling and engaging actors, will be the recipient of the Peter J. Owens Award for excellence in acting at the 57th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 24-May 8). The award will be presented to Irons at Film Society Awards Night, Thursday May 1 at the Regency Center.

The Film Society and its year-round exhibition, education and filmmaker services programs will be the beneficiary of the star-studded fundraiser honoring Irons; Richard Linkater, the recipient of the Founder's Directing Award; Stephen Gaghan, recipient of the Kanbar Screenwriting Award; and John Lasseter, the recipient of the George Gund III Craft of Cinema Award. Victoria Raiser and Todd Traina are co-chairs of this year's Film Society Awards Night gala. 

"Jeremy Irons is the perfect choice to receive the Peter J. Owens Award, SFIFF's top honor for the actor's craft," said Noah Cowan, Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Society. "He embodies the international spirit that defines our festival, and the phenomenal work he has done on screens big and small is an inspiration. We are thrilled to pay tribute to an actor whose range, depth and wonderful sense of humor have delighted lovers of world cinema for decades."

Irons will also be honored at An Evening with Jeremy Irons at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, Wednesday April 30, 7:30 pm. A screening of a film featuring one of his iconic performances will follow an onstage interview and a selection of clips from his impressive career.  

Jeremy Irons won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Claus von Bulow in Reversal of Fortune. He is also a Golden Globe Award, Primetime Emmy Award, Tony Award and SAG Award winner.

The British-born Irons has an extraordinary legacy of film, television and theater performances including The French Lieutenant's Woman, in which he starred opposite Meryl Streep; The Mission; and David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers. Irons starred in Damage and M. Butterfly before he made pop culture history as the voice of the evil lion Scar in Disney's classic The Lion King. Irons showed his grasp of the action genre starring opposite Bruce Willis in Die Hard: With A Vengeance, and also starred as Humbert Humbert in Adrian Lyne's Lolita. Other career highlights includeBeing Julia with Annette Bening, Appaloosa with Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen, and Bertolucci's Stealing Beauty

Irons received a Tony Award for his performance in Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing and most recently appeared in London in the National Theatre's Never So Good and in the Royal Shakespeare Company's The Gods Weep. Irons is probably best known for his role as Charles Ryder in the cult TV series Brideshead Revisited, and he notably joined Helen Mirren and director Tom Hooper in the award-winning television miniseries Elizabeth I. Irons was also recently lauded for his portrayal of iconic photographer Alfred Stieglitz in the award-winning biographical picture Georgia O'Keeffe.

Irons recent film work includes the award-winning independent feature Margin Call with Kevin Spacey; The Words with Bradley Cooper, which was featured closing night at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival; Beautiful Creatures, shot in Louisiana and directed by Richard LaGravenese; and Night Train to Lisbon, directed by Bille August. In addition, Irons adds the credit of executive producer and featured actor inTrashed, a Blenheim Production feature documentary directed by Candida Brady, which received a special screening at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and continues to play in theaters and festivals globally.

Named for the longtime San Francisco benefactor of arts and charitable organizations, Peter J. Owens (1936-1991), this award honors an actor whose work exemplifies brilliance, independence and integrity.

Previous recipients of the Film Society's Peter J. Owens Award are Harrison Ford (2013), Judy Davis (2012), Terence Stamp (2011), Robert Duvall (2010), Robert Redford (2009), Maria Bello (2008), Robin Williams (2007), Ed Harris (2006), Joan Allen (2005), Chris Cooper (2004), Dustin Hoffman (2003), Kevin Spacey (2002), Stockard Channing (2001), Winona Ryder (2000), Sean Penn (1999), Nicolas Cage (1998), Annette Bening (1997) and Harvey Keitel (1996). The Peter J. Owens Award is made possible through a grant from the Peter J. Owens Trust at the San Francisco Foundation.

For more information about Film Society Awards Night call 415-561-5028 or email

Tickets to An Evening with Jeremy Irons are $20 for SFFS members, $25 for the general public, available at the Festival box office at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas and online at

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To request interviews or screeners, contact your Festival publicist.
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57th San Francisco International Film Festival

The 57th San Francisco International Film Festival runs April 24-May 8 at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, Castro Theatre and New People Cinema in San Francisco and the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley. Held each spring for 15 days, the International is an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation in one of the country's most beautiful cities, featuring 200 films and live events, 14 juried awards and nearly $40,000 in cash prizes, upwards of 100 participating filmmaker guests and diverse and engaged audiences with more than 65,000 in attendance.