Robert De Niro Receives Lifetime Achievement Honor at SAG Awards 2020: See His Speech

Oh, what a night! Robert De Niro walked away with a high honor on Sunday, January 19, as this year’s Lifetime Achievement recipient at the 2020 SAG Awards.

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De Niro, 76, took the stage at the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles to accept Screen Actors Guild award, which was presented to him by longtime friend Leonardo DiCaprio. In his speech, the Raging Bull star opened up about his long career and touched on political matters.

SAG Awards 2020 Robert De Niro Lifetime Achievement Speech
Robert De Niro recieves the SAG Life Achievement Award on January 19, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

“As actors, we don’t take victory laps. We’re too worried about what our next job will be,” he said on Sunday. “So, it makes me very happy to know that my next job is working with you [DiCaprio] and Marty [Scorsese]. At least I know I’ve got another year of health insurance.”

He continued, “I’ve been puzzling over what to say tonight to express my appreciation for this award tonight. But more than that, for being a part of this community of actors for being able to have a career with dignity and creative fulfillment. We, as actors, don’t do it all alone. We can’t do it alone. We depend on each other for collaboration in our work, and support and fellowship both onscreen and off.”

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In November 2019, SAG-AFTRA announced that the Godfather II star would be the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for the 26th ceremony. The tribute has previously been given to Morgan Freeman, Debbie Reynolds, Julie Andrews and Clint Eastwood, to name a few.

SAG Awards 2020 Robert De Niro Lifetime Achievement Speech
Robert De Niro recieves the SAG Life Achievement Award, presented by Leonardo DiCaprio on January 19, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Michael Buckner/Variety/Shutterstock

“Robert De Niro is an actor of extraordinary depth and ability,” Gabrielle Carteris, president of SAG-AFTRA, said in a statement. “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.”

The BH90210 alum added, “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.”

De Niro’s long career includes a plethora of diverse performances. He’s appeared in crime dramas, such as Goodfellas and Casino, and comedies, including Meet the Parents and Dirty Grandpa.

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SAG Awards 2020 Robert De Niro Lifetime Achievement Speech
Robert De Niro arrives at The 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on January 19, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Matt Sayles/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Speaking of his career in a New York Times profile, the Irishman star opened up about how he approaches comedic projects compared to dramatic parts. “The process is different. Sometimes, I would much prefer to do something with more subtlety and more nuance, a more complicated thing, more contradictory,” De Niro said in November 2012. “But they’re fun to do. I don’t know if I’ll do any more.”

De Niro and Scorsese, 77, have worked on nine films together, including 2019’s The Irishman.

For more on De Niro’s career, check out the video above to see his Lifetime Achievement award speech from Sunday’s SAG Awards.

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