Industry union SAG-AFTRA announced Tuesday that the Oscar-winning actor will receive the 2019 SAG Life Achievement Award for career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment at next year’s SAG Awards ceremony.
On top of his vast contributions to the craft of acting, the SAG Awards’ highest honor is bestowed upon those who exemplify the “finest ideals of the acting profession,” according to a press release. Across his 54-year career as an actor, De Niro has appeared in films such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Cape Fear, Jackie Brown, Meet the Parents, and Silver Linings Playbook. This year, he starred in the global box office hit Joker alongside Joaquin Phoenix and re-teamed with Martin Scorsese for Netflix’s potential awards contender The Irishman.
Outside of his work as a performer, (which won him two Oscars in addition to four prior SAG Award nominations), the 76-year-old also founded the annual Tribeca Film Festival in an attempt to revive the lower-Manhattan neighborhood in the wake of 9/11. His Tribeca Film Institute also supports the work and stories of underserved filmmakers.
“Robert De Niro is an actor of extraordinary depth and ability. The characters he creates captivate our imaginations. From the smoldering inferno of young Vito Corleone to the raging bull Jake Lamotta and everybody’s grandpa Ben Whittaker, he continues to touch our hearts and open our minds to new and exciting worlds of understanding and emotion,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “It is my great privilege to announce that SAG-AFTRA’s highest honor will be presented to one of the most singular talents of our generation, Robert De Niro.”
“I have been a member of this union for over 50 years. It’s an honor to receive this award from SAG-AFTRA,” De Niro added.
The SAG Life Achievement Award has been given to 55 other performers throughout the union’s history, including Ernest Borgnine in 2010, Mary Tyler Moore in 2011, Dick Van Dyke in 2012, Rita Moreno in 2013, Debbie Reynolds in 2014, Carol Burnett in 2015, Lily Tomlin in 2017, Morgan Freeman in 2018, and Alan Alda earlier this year.
The 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards air Sunday, Jan. 19 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT and TBS.