“Every year, the Academy has the honour of celebrating those who have made immense contributions to our cultural landscape through their artistry,” Academy Chair Martin Katz said in a press release Tuesday morning. “Christopher Plummer is one of the greatest actors of his generation who has delighted audiences with his iconic performances. We are elated to have him as this year’s distinct guest of honour.”
Academy CEO Beth Janson added, “Christopher Plummer has had a long, versatile and brilliant career on stage and on screen. He is a true gentleman of the arts, exuding elegance and grace and we are proud to celebrate his legacy.”
She isn't wrong.
Over the course of his 65-year career, the Toronto-born, Montreal-native has appeared in hundreds of stage and screen productions. While many know him for his role as Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music, others recognize him as Hamlet or King Lear (two of Shakespeare's most iconic figures).
And though he has said he enjoys working in film, it's clear his passion has always been for the stage.
“I came to life as Henry V way back in 1956 at Stratford and the Edinburgh festival. That’s how it started," he told the Ottawa Citizen in 2016. “Henry V made my name go up above the title on Broadway. The critics were favourable. It was at a time when the new wave of playwrights were coming to the fore."
His devotion to theatre continued and he has since won two Tonys (though he has been nominated for seven).
Christopher also holds the honour of being the oldest person ever to win an Academy Award, which he did at the age of 82 for Beginners. The film tells the story of a man who comes out of the closet while he is dying of cancer.
“You’re only two years older than me, darling,” he quipped in 2012 as he held his Best Actor in a Supporting Role statue referring to the length of time the Academy had been around. “Where have you been all my life?”
He went on to joke: “I have a confession to make. When I first emerged from my mother’s womb, I was already rehearsing my acceptance speech.”
In addition to receiving this iconic award, Christopher can next be seen in two films: Boundaries -- starring Vera Farmiga -- and The Man Who Invented Christmas, where he'll play Ebenezer Scrooge.
Hosted by Howie Mandel, the Canadian Screen Awards will be broadcast live on the CBC from Toronto’s Sony Centre for the Performing Arts on Sunday, March 12.