Johnny Depp has been chosen as the next recipient of the Donostia Award — a lifetime achievement award given at the famed San Sebastián film festival in Spain.
In a statement on its website, the festival praised Depp as “one of contemporary cinema’s most talented and versatile actors”, announcing that he would be given the festival’s highest honour during this year’s festival, which begins September 17.
The statement goes on to describe Depp’s “more than 90 audiovisual productions”, Oscar nominations, myriad of awards, including a Golden Globe, and his gaining “the admiration of the new generations.”
What it fails to mention of course, is the actions of the 58-year old off camera.
In 2016, Depp’s then-wife, actress Amber Heard, provided evidence her husband was physically and verbally abusive, successfully applying for a temporary restraining order at Los Angeles Superior Court.
Heard offered video and photographic proof of bruises that she claimed Depp inflicted throughout their fifteen-month marriage.
“During the entirety of our relationship, Johnny has been verbally and physically abusive to me,” Heard wrote in a court declaration submitted in March, 2016. “I endured excessive emotional, verbal and physical abuse from Johnny, which has included angry, hostile, humiliating and threatening assaults to me whenever I questioned his authority or disagreed with him.”
The San Sebastián film festival statement praising Depp also did not mention the actor’s failed libel case against the publisher of the Sun newspaper which published the U.K’s High Court findings that the claims of his assaults were “substantially true”.
British film magazine ScreenDaily approached the festival for comments about the decision to award the festival’s highest accolade to the actor.
The festival director, Jose Luis Rebordinos, responded by saying; “The Donostia Award to Johnny Depp is our recognition of a great actor, a man of cinema with a great career, who visited us last year as producer of the film Crock Of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan, by Julien Temple, which won the Special Jury Prize.”
In recent months, projects attached to Depp have faced slippery footing. In July, the director of Minamata, Depp’s latest film, claimed that Hollywood giant studio MGM wanted to “bury” his film in light of his leading star’s fall from grace.
In the recent past, the San Sebastián Film Festival has made moves to defy the snouting of film figures like Woody Allen who have been ostracised in the U.S.
Last year, it chose to allow Woody Allen’s film, Rifkin’s Festival to be shot at the festival, and then subsequently premiered it as the opening event of its 2020 showcase.
If Depp attends this year’s award, it will be his third visit to the festival. Past recipients of the Donostia Award include Julia Roberts, Glenn Close, Penélope Cruz and Judi Dench.