Oscar Actors: Weaver, Sigourney, Honored for Career Achievement by 2016 San Sebastian Film Fest

Sigourney Weaver will receive the 2016 Donostia Award for career achievement at the 64th San Sebastian Fest, which runs September 18-26 at the Basque resort city.

The Donostia Award ceremony will link to a European premiere screening of Juan Antonio Bayona’s “A Monster Calls,” which co-stars Felicity Jones, Lewis McDougall and Liam Neeson. The film, Bayona’s third feature after “The Orphanage” and “The Impossible,” will screen out of competition at San Sebastian.

A festival statement on Tuesday said Weaver had “presided over some of the biggest productions in the last few decades, under the direction of moviemakers such as Ridley Scott, Peter Weir, James Cameron, Mike Nichols, Roman Polanski, Ang Lee and David Fincher.”

Produced out of Spain by Apaches Ent., Telecinco Cinema and Peliculas La Trini, and financed and distributed by Focus Features, River Road, Participant Media and Lionsgate, “A Monster Calls” is slated to open in the U.S via Focus Features on Oct 14. Universal Pictures Intl. Spain will release in Spain where it ranks as one of the most awaited movies of the year.

Adapting Patrick Ness’ novel of the same title, and turning on a 12-year-old boy who attempts to deal with his mother’s serious illness with the help of a monster, its mother-son theme, which runs through “The Orphanage” and “The Impossible” is not do far from the focus of many of Weaver’s own most celebrated movies.

Breaking through in Ridley Scott’s “Alien” in 1979, Weaver has been dubbed a “sci-fi queen,” a status won by her starring role in all four “Alien” movies and well as “Avatar.” But it was the theme of maternity, structured around her character, which helped make the “Alien” franchise so memorable and moving. It surfaces in very different iterations in, say, “Working Girl,” where Weaver plays a capitalist stepmother to Melanie Griffiths’ working girl Cinderella, or in “Gorillas in the Mist,” the true story of naturalist Dian Fossey and her attempt to save Rwanda gorillas from extinction.  In “A Monster Calls,” she plays Grandma to Neeson’s monster.

Launched in 1986 and focused primarily on actors, the Donostia Award first recognized Hollywood Golden Age greats such as Bette Davis in 1989, just weeks before her death, before turning to current high-profile figures of Hollywood and European cinema such as Al Pacino (1995) and Michael Caine and Robert de Niro (2000).