Johnny Depp Chosen For Prestigious Award, Controversy Abounds

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Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean

Credit: Disney

Last November, Hollywood actor Johnny Depp lost his libel lawsuit against U.K. News Group Newspaper publication, The Sun, for their report that he had allegedly engaged in domestic violence — including a reported “hostage” situation during a Pirates of the Caribbean shoot in Australia — against ex-wife Amber Heard (Aquaman, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom) on multiple occasions.

johnny depp jack sparrow
Credit: Disney

Related: #JusticeForJohnnyDepp Goes WILD on Social Media

Justice Andrew Nicol presided over the original proceedings, and Depp later lost his right to appeal the original ruling in the United Kingdom. The Captain Jack Sparrow actor, for his part, has denied the domestic violence allegations, with even his exes, Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder, speaking out in his defense at various points in time.

johnny depp as jack sparrow
Credit: Disney

Related: Jack Sparrow’s Triumphant Return Is Actually a Catastrophe For Disney

Depp also has a loyal fan base who have caused #JusticeForJohnnyDepp to trend online on multiple occasions. Some of the actor’s supporters have also decided to boycott Disney and Warner Bros. Studios for firing Depp from his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates and Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, respectively.

jack sparrow animatronic with johnny depp
Credit: Disney

Related: Johnny Depp Wins Motion, Judge Orders Charity to Reveal Amber Heard’s Donations

Others, however, are not as supportive of the Disney Legend. It was recently announced that Depp will be awarded the prestigious Donostia Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

Credit: D23

Related: Did Jack Sparrow Have Too Much Rum? Animatronic Malfunctions!

The official webpage for San Sebastian’s highest honor reads:

The San Sebastian Festival established the Donostia Award in 1986. It recognizes outstanding contributions to the film world of great names who will be part of cinema history forever.

The first one was awarded to Gregory Peck (1986), followed by award-winners Glenn Ford (1987), Vittorio Gassman (1988), Bette Davis (1989), Claudette Colbert (1990), Anthony Perkins (1991), Lauren Bacall (1992), Robert Mitchum (1993), Lana Turner (1994), Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve (1995), Al Pacino (1996), Michael Douglas, Jeremy Irons and Jeanne Moreau (1997), John Malkovich and Anthony Hopkins (1998), Fernando Fernán-Gómez, Vanessa Redgrave and Anjelica Huston (1999), Michael Caine and Robert de Niro (2000), Julie Andrews, Warren Beatty and Francisco Rabal (2001), Jessica Lange, Bob Hoskins, Dennis Hopper and Francis Ford Coppola (2002), Isabelle Huppert, Sean Penn and Robert Duvall (2003), Woody Allen, Annette Bening and Jeff Bridges (2004), Ben Gazzara, and Willen Dafoe (2005), Max Von Sydow and Matt Dillon (2006), Richard Gere and Liv Ullman (2007), Antonio Banderas and Meryl Streep (2008), Ian McKellen (2009), Julia Roberts (2010) and Glenn Close (2011), John Travolta, Oliver Stone, Ewan McGregor, Tommy Lee Jones and Dustin Hoffman (2012), Carmen Maura and Hugh Jackman (2013), Denzel Washington and Benecio del Toro (2014), Emily Watson (2015), Ethan Hawke and Sigourney Weaver (2016), Ricardo Darín, Agnès Varda and Monica Bellucci (2017), Judi Dench, Hirokazu Koreeda and Danny DeVito (2018), Penélope Cruz, Costa-Gavras and Donald Sutherland (2019), Viggo Mortensen (2020).

You can watch a video of all the winners through 2019 below.

One article about Depp winning the Donostia Award including the following details:

In a statement, the European film festival names Depp as “one of contemporary cinema’s most talented and versatile actors”, putting him in the esteemed company of past Donostia winners like Sigourney Weaver, Penelope Cruz, Viggo Mortensen, Ethan Hawke, and Dame Judi Dench. Depp has attended the festival for past works and has recently starred in the biopic drama Minamata. Needless to say, the news of Depp getting this honor is already stirring up controversy.

depp burton
Credit: YouTube – Jake’s Takes (Screenshot ITM)

Related: Tim Burton Could Help Johnny Depp Revive Career

Social media is abuzz with the news that Depp has been selected to receive this award. Some movie fans, like Pomta, are thrilled with the choice:

Johnny Depp is one of contemporary cinema’s most talented and versatile actors.
- San Sebastian Festival

Johnny will receive San Sebastian’s highest honor, Donostia Award, in a ceremony taking place on Sept. 22 at the festival’s Kursaal Auditorium.

He deserves it!

Related: Johnny Depp Spent Over $60K to Keep ‘Pirates’ Crew Safe

Meanwhile, others, like Stirgus Sacchetti, have strong opinions on the other end of the spectrum:

“The role of a film festival is not to judge the conduct of members of the film industry…” blah blah to wash your hands off for choosing a court ruled abuser with the ‘private life’ excuse is unacceptable in 2021 & with DV on the rise


No matter where your personal opinion lies, this is certainly an intriguing move on the part of the festival, given the drama and controversy that has surrounded Depp’s legal situation for months.

If you are interested in seeing more fans’ reactions, visit Twitter.

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