The red carpet rolled out for Joan Allen at the Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF) Sunday evening as a recognition of her accomplishments and contributions to the arts.
"You are the one," said Michael Kutza, Founder and Creative Director of CIFF, as he presented the Silver Hugo Award to Allen. "You are the star on stage and on screen," he continued, adding that Allen's performance was "stunning."
Allen accepted the Award in the midst of applause from the audience. Helen Hunt and Viola Davis are the other two recipients of the Silver Hugo Award at CIFF this year.
Allen was born in a small town near Chicago in 1956 and started her acting career at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago.
"It was true that I couldn't get into a cheer-leading team, so I turned to act in a play," she said, laughing.
She fell in love with acting and started her career at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, which, eventually led her to her Broadway shows in New York City and key performing roles in film and television.
Over the years, she has won a Tony Award for a Broadway show (Lanford Wilson's "Burn This") and has been nominated for Oscar Award three times ( "Nixon" , "The Crucible" and "The Contender" ).
Allen has performed many high profile characters, including President Nixon's wife Pat in Nixon. She said that in order to bring these characters to life she did a lot of research and read as much material as she could to "learn about them, their lives, and their struggles."
Many Chinese moviegoers are familiar with Allen not only because of the various awards and nominations she has received, but also because of her performance in Ang Lee's film The Ice Storm and John Woo's film Face/Off.
When interviewed for her experience working with Ang Lee and John Woo, Allen told Xinhua: "They are both incredibly smart and articulate. I'd work with them any day." She used the word "extraordinary" to describe their collaboration.X Allen contributed her success in career to her upbringing in the Midwest.
"Midwesterners have very strong work ethnics," she said. "They don' t complain and always try to move forward."
Allen said she wanted to say thank you to her Chinese fans and said she would very much like to go to China one day to meet them.