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Awards for Kevin Spacey: Europe at odds with Hollywood for actor’s comeback

Kevin Spacey: Europe at odds with Hollywood for actor’s comeback - Pictured: Spacey at the UK House Of Cards premiere in 2015
Kevin Spacey: Europe at odds with Hollywood for actor’s comeback - Pictured: Spacey at the UK House Of Cards premiere in 2015 Copyright Joel Ryan/Invision/AP
Copyright Joel Ryan/Invision/AP
By David Mouriquand
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Disgraced actor Kevin Spacey is trying to stage a comeback, and the awards are already piling up. In Europe, that is.

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After having received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Turin last year, US actor Kevin Spacey is set to receive several gongs this month.

It has been announced that he has won an award for his voice performance in the thriller Control, given by the Folkestone Independent Film Awards in the UK.  

The actor does not appear on screen in Gene Fallaize’s movie, his first film after his acquittal last year, in which Spacey plays a man who hijacks a government official’s car in order to exact revenge. The part is entirely vocal. 

The awards are set to take place in Folkestone, Kent, on 20 July. It’s unclear whether Spacey will attend. 

Spacey will however attend a ceremony (and give a performance) the following day in Italy, where he will be the recipient of a lifetime achievement award in Taormina, Sicily. That award is part of the Nations Awards - and not related to the Taormina film festival.  

"Kevin Spacey is a timeless monument in film and theatre history, who unquestionably deserves the chance to get his career back," award organizers Michel Curatolo and Marco Fallanca said.

“Taormina is one of Italy’s oldest movie celebrations and it is a true privilege to witness a taste of a performance by one of the acting greats of our time. Both his audience and the industry miss his boundless talent every single day and we are extremely proud to stand with such an unparalleled artist,” added Curatolo and Fallanca. 

Kevin Spacey, right, welcomed by director Domenico De Gaetano, at the National Museum of Cinema in Turin, Italy - 2023
Kevin Spacey, right, welcomed by director Domenico De Gaetano, at the National Museum of Cinema in Turin, Italy - 2023Luca Bruno/AP

This European reception is at odds with Hollywood, which has largely blacklisted Spacey following numerous sexual misconduct allegations and trials since 2017.  

Actor Anthony Rapp was the first to allege that Spacey had made an unwanted sexual advance toward him, which Rapp says happened in 1986 when he was 14 and Spacey was 26. 

After Rapp’s allegations, Spacey was swiftly dropped from a number of high-profile film and TV projects, including being dropped from the last season of Netflix’s House of Cards and replaced in the lead role of the Ridley Scott film All the Money in the World by Christopher Plummer. 

Spacey was found not liable in a 2022 battery case brought by Rapp in the US, and not guilty of seven counts of sexual assault and two other counts of sexual offences in a UK trial last year. However, Spacey faces a fresh civil trial in the UK in 2025, brought by a man who says the actor sexually assaulted him, causing him “psychiatric damage” and “financial loss”. 

The two-time Oscar winner has made numerous attempts to revive his career abroad - particularly in Italy, where he made his first film following the allegations, Franco Nero’s The Man Who Drew God, which premiered in 2022.  

Spacey recently broke down in an interview with Piers Morgan last month, claiming he lost his home in Baltimore, was nearly bankrupt following mounting legal fees and his lack of work amid the allegations. He admitted to Morgan he had “pushed the boundaries” by “being too handsy” with people, but said he “didn't know at the time” they were unwanted advances.

However unfruitful his onscreen comeback has been so far, several celebrity voices have spoken out in Spacey’s defense. 

Last month, Sharon Stone, Liam Neeson and Stephen Fry gave statements to The Telegraph newspaper calling for the actor to be allowed to return to acting. 

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"I can't wait to see Kevin back at work,” said Stone. “He is a genius. He is so elegant and fun, generous to a fault and knows more about our craft than most of us ever will."

"Kevin is a good man and a man of character,” stated Neeson. “Personally speaking, our industry needs him and misses him greatly."

These statements of support were prompted by the release of a Channel 4 documentary, Spacey Unmasked, which featured testimony from several men who alleged that Spacey had behaved inappropriately towards them. The men making the allegations were separate from those who had lodged criminal complaints with British police. 

Fry offered his support, saying that to "devote a whole documentary to accusations that simply do not add up to crimes... How can that be considered proportionate and justified?"

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Fry added: "Surely it is wrong to continue to batter a reputation on the strength of assertion and rhetoric rather than evidence and proof? Unless I'm missing something, I think he has paid the price." 

Additional sources • The Telegraph, Variety

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