Quentin Tarantino will appear as part of the tribute to actor Bruce Dern on Monday at the AFI Fest in Hollywood. Dern appeared in Tarantino’s Oscar-winning “Django Unchained.”
Dern has been busy this award season in support of his role in Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska,” which screens as part of the AFI Fest tribute. Dern won the lead actor prize for the film at the Cannes Film Festival when the movie premiered there this year.
In “Nebraska” Dern plays Woody Grant, a Montana retiree losing his faculties who becomes convinced that he has won the million-dollar sweepstakes prize teased in an advertisement. He conscripts his adult son (Will Forte) into driving him to Nebraska to pick up his winnings, an odyssey that finds them detouring into the small rural community where Woody grew up.
“I just believed him,” Payne said of Dern during a recent appearance as part of the L.A. Times Envelope Screening Series. “He doesn’t look like a movie star. He looks like that guy. You can’t put Warren Beatty in that part — wonderful actor for other things, but not for that part. Woody’s an old prairie dog.” The director also added that he would’ve cast Dern “just for his hair,” which in the film is a fly-away shock of white so striking it became the key image for the film’s poster.
Even though Tarantino wasn’t involved in making “Nebraska,” his support may not be insignificant. Actors John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman and Robert Forster all received Academy Award nominations from Tarantino films, while Christoph Waltz is a two-time winner from performances for Tarantino.
Dern was nominated for an Oscar for his part in Hal Ashby’s 1978 film “Coming Home.” That role also earned him a Golden Globe nomination, as did his part in 1974’s “The Great Gatsby.”
AFI Fest begins Thursday night and runs through the 14th. More info can be found at afifest.com.