Willem Dafoe Celebrated as “the Great Actor of Our Time” as 2024’s First Hollywood Walk of Fame Recipient


Summary

  • Willem Dafoe receives long-overdue Hollywood Walk of Fame star, with support from colleagues and family.
  • Despite numerous nominations, Dafoe is yet to win an Oscar or Golden Globe, but values camaraderie among fellow actors.
  • Colleagues praise Dafoe’s talent, calling him the greatest American actor of our time, who always elevates material.


Willem Dafoe has been one of the most instantly recognizable faces on cinema screens for almost 50 years, and today the Poor Things star became the first recipient of a Hollywood Walk of Fame star in 2024.

With support from some of his many collaborators, including filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro, Mark Ruffalo, Pedro Pascal, Patricia Arquette, and Camila Morrone, along with his friends and family, Dafoe’s recognition on Hollywood’s most famous walkway is long overdue for an actor with one of the largest screen presences in the business. Among his many iconic roles, Dafoe has played Green Goblin in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man and in the MCU’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, lighthouse keeper Thomas Wake in A24’s The Lighthouse, Clem Hoatley in Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley, and has appeared in all genres of movie, from Pixar animation Finding Nemo to the biblical epic The Last Temptation of Christ.

Stepping up to the podium at the ceremony, Dafoe shared just how incredulous the idea of receiving the accolade was to him as a child growing up in a small Wisconsin town. He said:

“When I was a kid growing up in Appleton, Wisconsin, believe me, I couldn’t envision this day of getting a star on the Walk of Fame, but I must say that when I looked at the list of names that had stars, the little town that I come from, Appleton, Wisconsin, it’s maybe a town of 70,000 people now, someone else from that town has a star. And his name was Erik Weisz. Anyone know that name? Harry Houdini. It’s real humbling to be here and to be part of this. I love making films. It’s arguably the most collaborative of art forms.”

Although Dafoe has remained a constant presence since his 1975 debut as an actor, his four Oscar and four Golden Globes nominations – the latest of which came at last night’s Golden Globes for his role as Dr. Godwin Baxter in Poor Things – the actor is still to win either statuette. But for Dafoe a sense of camaraderie with his fellow stars seems to be worth as much as any awards. He continued:

I just want to say, it’s wonderful to be part of this community of artists and entertainers, people that by sharing their experiences, imagining others’ perspectives, telling stories and musing on what is, was, and most importantly, could be, they make us feel closer to each other and connect us.

Related: Best Willem Dafoe Movies, Ranked


Willem Dafoe Is “The Great American Actor of Our Time”

A24
Searchlight Pictures
Universal Pictures

Speaking about Dafoe, Patricia Arquette heaped praise on the actor’s ability to “exceed your hopes,” having finally worked with him on the 2023 movie Gonzo Girl, which Arquette directed. She said:

“Few people know that we call Willem the pope of Hollywood. There’s only one Willem Dafoe. Willem is one of those people who exceeds your hopes when you work with him, when you get to meet him. And when you meet him, you like him. To know Willem is to love Willem. I guess the only person better than Willem Dafoe is Willem Dafoe. As fans, all of us fans, we know that he’s brought truth, ambiguity, openness, exploration, humor and humanity to over 150 films. He’s worked with the greatest directors of our time, and there’s a reason for that: because Willem always delivers. He always elevates material.”

Following Arquette, Pedro Pascal, who will be seen with Dafoe in the upcoming Tropico, took the podium to echo the sentiment that Dafoe has had a career that “cannot compare” to anyone else in the industry. Pascal said:

“Nothing can really match up to the man, the artist, the friend — Willem has shown me that in the early stages of my development, there is no one way to create a character, to steal a scene, to terrify, to seduce, to make people laugh and to be a leading man. He is the greatest American actor in our lifetime. You cannot compare his career to anyone’s, truthfully.”

Willem Dafoe can currently be seen in the Golden Globe-winning Poor Things, which is currently playing in U.S. theaters and opens on January 12 in the U.K. He is currently working on several new movies, including this year’s releases of Beetlejuice 2 and Nosferatu.

Poor Things

Poor Things

Release Date
December 8, 2023

Rating
R

Runtime
2hr 21min



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