Veteran director John Huston has received the D. W. Griffith Career Achievement Award from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Inc.
The 78-year-old Huston, who has been ailing, was forced to stay in Los Angeles and addressed the group at the Players Club by telephone.
"Recently, I heard myself described as a living legend," Huston said. "My doctors assured me that the first wintry blast would almost certainly change my present status from living.
"Thank you with all my grateful heart," he added.
The board also gave awards to "A Passage to India" as best film, accepted by Bette Davis, who received a standing ovation, and to David Lean as best director. The best actress and actor awards also went to two from that picture, Peggy Ashcroft and Victor Banerjee. Banerjee was the only award-winner present.
Sabine Azema, in "A Sunday in the Country," and John Malkovich, in "Places in the Heart," received the best supporting actress and actor awards.
"A Sunday in the Country," from France, was named best foreign film.