Johnny Depp Award Defended By Film Festival Director

The San Sebastian Film Festival has come out to defend the process of handing Johnny Depp a lifetime achievement award last week

By Doug Norrie | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

johnny depp

Johnny Depp has been persona non grata in Hollywood circles for over a year now following the highly-publicized and very embarrassing fallout from his divorce from Amber Heard. Stemming from a civil trial involving the actor, he has been removed from a number of different projects. But then, last week, Johnny Depp was given an honorary award by the San Sebastian Film Festival. The latter caught quite a bit of flak for who they chose. Well, according to Deadline, the Film Festival has pushed back and are defending their decision to honor Depp in the way they see fit. 

Johnny Depp was given the Donostia Award by the San Sebastian Film Festival. It is an honorary award, one of their highest, and marks recognition for lifetime achievement on the big screen. At the time, the festival didn’t give much insight into the curiously-timed award seeing as how Depp didn’t have a movie being featured there. But there were more than a few folks who scratched their heads, or worse, at the idea of Depp receiving this award now, on the heels of a controversial year for the actor.

So in response, the director of San Sebastian, Luis Rebordinos didn’t mix words about why they decided to give Johnny Depp this honor. He issued a statement on the award and Depp with the beginning part of it focused on the Festival’s commitment to upholding certain social standards and being opposed to violence against women. He then discussed the criteria for the award and the work of the festival to create a safe space for all of those involved. In the end, he said, “According to the proven data which we have to hand, Johnny Depp has not been arrested, charged nor convicted of any form of assault or violence against any woman. We repeat: he has not been charged by any authority in any jurisdiction, nor convicted of any form of violence against women.”

Johnny Depp

Now, whether the Festival and other entities are in agreement about this remains to be seen. Judging by the last year or so for Johnny Depp, San Sebastian is in the minority here at least in terms of public perception. But on a legal level, what he said is correct. Depp has not been convicted of any crime in any court. He is a free man, though in Hollywood circles isn’t getting anything in the way of work. 

Much of this issue around Johnny Depp stems from last summer’s civil case involving the British tabloid, The Sun. Depp sued them for libel after the publication called him a “wife-beater” in his relationship with Amber Heard. To argue their case, The Sun saw fit to bring evidence backing up their claim and a number of disturbing revelations were put out in public. Depp didn’t win, The Sun stood their ground and the fallout for the actor was intense. 

Johnny Depp almost instantly lost roles in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as well as a cameo in a Pirates of the Caribbean reboot. Plus, his other movie, Minamata has been effectively buried by the studio.  So while San Sebastian is honoring Depp with an achievement award, and technically is correct in their view of his issues, they seem to be the only one these days. It is unclear when or if Johnny Depp ever returns to the studio’s graces, but it doesn’t look like it is coming anytime soon.