It’s a tie! In our latest and final AFI poll results, actors Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington are your top choices to receive a life achievement award from the American Film Institute. Both men received 22% of support in our poll about male actors and directors over the past week. Our results are certainly not binding, and the AFI will officially announce its actual selection in the next few days.
Actor and director George Clooney was honored a few months ago, so it might not even be a man for the 47th annual event in the summer of 2019. We also hosted a recent poll about actresses, with Sigourney Weaver defeating Glenn Close and eight others as your favorite.
For the other 10 men in this poll, Michael Caine followed our leaders with 13% and then Francis Ford Coppola with 12%. Robert Duvall (9%), Jeff Bridges (6%) and Ridley Scott (6%) were next. Bill Murray (3%), Brad Pitt (3%), Joel and Ethan Coen (2%), Ron Howard (2%) and Eddie Murphy (0%) rounded out our survey.
Prior to picking composer John Williams for the 2016 honor, the AFI had only chosen actors, actresses and directors starting way back in the 1970s when the recipients were director John Ford (1973), actor James Cagney (1974), director/actor Orson Welles (1975), director William Wyler (1976), actress Bette Davis (1977), actor Henry Fonda (1978), and director Alfred Hitchcock (1979).
Past recipients, besides Williams and Clooney, who are still with us (and therefore not eligible to be chosen again): actor Kirk Douglas (1991), actor Sidney Poitier (1992), actor Jack Nicholson (1994), director Steven Spielberg (1995), actor/director Clint Eastwood (1996), director Martin Scorsese (1997), actor Dustin Hoffman (1999), actor Harrison Ford (2000), actress/director Barbra Streisand (2001), actor/director Tom Hanks (2002), actor Robert De Niro (2003), actress Meryl Streep (2004), director George Lucas (2005), actor Sean Connery (2006), actor Al Pacino (2007), actor/director Warren Beatty (2008), actor/producer Michael Douglas (2009), actor Morgan Freeman (2011), actress Shirley MacLaine (2012), director/actor Mel Brooks (2013), actress Jane Fonda (2014), actor/writer Steve Martin (2015) and actress Diane Keaton.