On Friday night Uma Thurman was presented with the Stockholm International Film Festival’s Achievement Award at Biografen Park.
Prior to picking up her bronze horse onstage, Thurman engaged in an hour-long Q&A with Moa Gammel and the audience. Later on, guests were treated to a screening of the Thurman and Tarantino classic, Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2.
An undisputed A-lister, Thurman, 44, was chosen as a recipient of the prestigious prize because of her “ability to portray the perfect and the fantastical, while giving glimpses of the humanity that lies within.” Perhaps it helped that Thurman has a Swedish mother (who happened to be in attendance), but that’s unlikely. Throughout her nearly 30-year career, Thurman has taken on provocative roles (June Miller), challenging roles (the Bride), kitschy roles (Poison Ivy) and cult classic roles (Mia Wallace), and, indeed, audiences have always felt with her even as she has simultaneously occupied – with radiant exquisiteness – that ethereal dimension of Hollywood stardom that always seems so far out of reach.
On Friday night, however, Thurman seemed a little less out of reach.
Dressed in a black suit with a shimmery shirt buttoned up high, she was the picture of accessible elegance; her make-up was flawless, her hair was messy; her language was succinct and erudite, her jokes and faux pas made her seem like one of the girls. Thurman commanded the audience while being a member of the audience; to be honest, she inhabited opposing polarities with such style and ease that it made the Face2Face hour fly by faster than a New York minute.
The most interesting part of the evening, however, was what Thurman actually said – her words straight from her mouth. She had a whole lot to say about a whole lot of things; some of it was a little realpolitik-ish, some of it was transcendental, and nearly all of it belongs in an anthology of quotes and aphorisms on a bookshelf or tablet near you.
So here are just a few of the evening’s pearls of wisdom:
Thurman on success: “As my mother would say, life is not for sissies – you either try hard or go home.”
Thurman on Journalists: “Journalists can really wear you out.”
Thurman on directors: “I have a soft spot for great writer directors… but who doesn’t!?”
Thurman on failure: “Effort in failure is what has armed you to succeed somewhere else.”
Thurman on the future of the industry: “I’m so worried about cinema… movies need to continue to be made… save the 90 minute narrative.”
Thurman on Tarantino: “He’s full of life… an incredible, brilliant person.”
Thurman on dancing with Travolta: “It was very nerve-wracking. I (lost) myself. I was desperate not to do that dance, I was tall, awkward, have big feet…”
Thurman on staying true to the script: “I find precision to be the only place of peace.”
Thurman on mothers: “Mothers are by nature protective and life is by nature threatening.”
Thurman on a technical difficulty with the mic: “Are we having a space invasion?”
Thurman on her secret fantasy: “My secret fantasy would be to be Doris Day.”
Thurman on achieving your dreams: “Never stop working, you can always find another way.”
For more information about the Stockholm Film Festival you can read Nina’s article here.