Morgan Freeman has been awarded the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award.

A number of famous faces turned out last night to celebrate the award, which was being presented to the Oscar-winning actor at an event in Los Angeles. It was first announced last October that Freeman would be given the award, and last night’s celebration included clips from some of Freeman’s most famed films, including Glory, Driving Miss Daisy and Million Dollar Baby.

The AFI Life Achievement Award was first established in 1973, and is awarded to a single individual in recognition of his or her lifetime contribution to enriching American culture through motion pictures and television, and it is widely considered one of the highest film honours for those involved in film-making.

Several of his co-stars offered a few words about the actor, with Forest Whitaker calling him “an adviser, a beacon, a confidant, a shoulder to lean on, protector and friend”.

In the past, Freeman has been nominated for an Academy Award for his performances in Street Smart, Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption and Invictus and won the award for Best Supporting Actor in 2005 for his role in Million Dollar Baby.

Freeman himself said that the award was “easy to take but hard to believe”. His is the 39th person to be awarded the AFI accolade, with past recipients including Harrison Ford, Clint Eastwood and Elizabeth Taylor.

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