Nicolas Cage Is Being Certified As A Legend

Nicolas Cage is receiving the Variety Legend & Groundbreaker Award at the Miami Film Festival.

By Mark McKee | Updated

nicolas cage vampire

There is no more prominent and divisive name in Hollywood than Nicolas Cage, who has made an entire career of curious creative choices. Whether he is blowing up enemies in classic action movies or cutting up the screen in Academy Award-level masterpieces, the actor seems to have a range that is unrivaled in the industry. According to Variety, they are noticing that range and the contributions he has made to film as they prepare to honor him with the Variety Legend & Groundbreaker Award at the Miami Film Festival next month. 

Steven Gaydos, Variety EVP global content & executive editor, called Nicolas Cage’s work “surprising, delightful, and moving” as he expressed their excitement to see the actor in Renfield in the upcoming festival. He went on to call Cage the definition of a living legend, praising him for the range that he has displayed over his career, his inimitable persona, and larger than life presence. He called him the perfect, one-of-a-kind choice for their 40th edition. 

nicolas cage renfield
Nicolas Cage in Renfield

When Nicolas Cage began his career, he changed his name from Coppola (being a nephew of The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola) and appeared in a number of small productions like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Valley Girl. He then appeared in some classic films like Raising Arizona and Moonstruck, along with one of his most dynamically crazy and outlandish films, Vampire’s Kiss. Finally, in 1995, he made a name for himself as a legitimate talent in his Academy Award-winning performance in Leaving Las Vegas

Following the building of his name, Nicolas Cage then entered into a new phase in his career, the action hero. In the two years following his Oscar performance, Cage appeared in The Rock with Sean Connery and Ed Harris, Con Air with John Malkovich and John Cusak, and Face/Off with John Travolta. This cemented him as one of the go-to actors in the industry if you need an action hero, and he continued the trend in films like Gone in 60 SecondsNational Treasure, and Ghost Rider

At this point in his career, the phone stopped ringing, National Treasure 3 was shelved, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice didn’t have the magic, and Drive Angry was a flop. This downturn came at a point when Nicolas Cage owed the IRS $14 million and lost his fortune in bad real estate decisions, and had some family issues. This resulted in a string of 46 movies that he signed on for the paycheck, most of which were straight to DVD and many of which made fans believe he stopped caring. 

Cut to the last few years, and he reported paying off all of his debts, allowing him to have more fun by picking films like Pig, where he turned in an intense performance in a movie that never should have worked, but only seemed to because Nicolas Cage has the talent and fearlessness to do so. Following that, he released the surprisingly incredible The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, where he plays a fictionalized version of himself. 

Nicolas Cage may have had ups and downs in his career, maybe even more than most, but he has signaled the turning point in a career that has always had the potential to be legendary. Variety is recognizing that potential and occasional execution, and we’d be hard-pressed to find someone more deserving.