Kevin Spacey accepts lifetime achievement award – and says judges must have 'had balls' to give it

Kevin Spacey - Luca Bruno/AP
Kevin Spacey - Luca Bruno/AP

Kevin Spacey thanked the National Cinema Museum in Italy for having “the balls” to honour him with a lifetime achievement award during an acceptance speech.

His remarks in Turin represents the first time the actor has spoken publicly in more than five years, during which time he faced a string of allegations of sexual offences in the wake of the #MeToo movement. In his speech Mr Spacey expressed his gratitude towards the museum “for having had ‘le palle’ – to invite me tonight”.

He was awarded the Stella della Mole Award in recognition of his “personal aesthetic and authorial contribution to the development of the art of drama”.

Previous winners of the Stella della Mole Award include actors Isabella Rossellini and Monica Bellucci, and director Dario Argento.

The sold-out events were billed as Mr Spacey’s first speaking engagements in five years.

kevin spacey - REUTERS
kevin spacey - REUTERS

After multiple allegations of sexual assault surfaced, the actor lost his starring role on the Netflix series “House of Cards” and saw other opportunities dry up.

Mr Spacey received the award just days after he appeared in a UK court to plead not guilty to seven charges of sexual assault against a man in the early 2000s.

The Oscar-winning actor is accused of sexually assaulting four men between 2001 and 2013, including when he was the artistic director at the city’s Old Vic theatre and is scheduled to go on trial in London in June. He denies the allegations.

In October last year, a New York jury concluded he did not molest actor Anthony Rapp, who had sought $40 million in damages after alleging that Mr Spacey made an “unwanted sexual advance” towards him when he was 14.

‘I haven’t hidden away’

The Usual Suspects actor refused to speak to the international press, but told Italian reporters about his life since the allegations against him were made, denying claims he had been in hiding since.

“I live my life every day, I go to restaurants, I meet people, drive, play tennis, I’ve always managed to meet generous, genuine, compassionate people,” he told Italian media, adding: “I haven’t hidden away, I haven’t gone to live in a cave.”

Mr Spacey also attended a master class at the Museo Nazionale del Cinema, where he spoke about his long career. The museum tweeted about the event on Monday night, describing Spacey as “one of Hollywood’s best known faces” while praising his “extraordinary performances as an actor”.