After a fortnight packed with more parties than a class-action suit—the Golden Globes, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the American Music Awards and the ACE Awards—international experts had begun to worry that the world of celebrityhood had exhausted its capacity for self-celebration. They need not have fretted: The American Cinema Awards, which this year honored "lifetime achievers" Liz Taylor and Gregory Peck and "entertainer of the decade" Michael Jackson, drew Clint Eastwood, Whoopi Goldberg, Clayton (The Lone Ranger) Moore, Petula Clark, Sophia Loren, Roddy McDowall and some 1,400 others to the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills for an evening of raising toasts and funds simultaneously. (The $300-to $5,000-a-plate ticket price benefited the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital, a retirement home for entertainers.)

The question of what a film-oriented group was doing presenting a major award to Jackson—who appeared in one movie, The Wiz, 12 years ago—was left to monks who specialize in that sort of thing. Attendees mingled, munched filet mignon and listened to lavish praise for the honorees. McDowall lauded Liz as a "complex and radiant talent...a creature with not one shred of malice toward anything or anyone." Lauren Bacall called Peck "a wonderful actor, a wonderful man." Loren declared that Jackson had "climbed every mountain!" Jackson, topping off the evening, said he was thrilled to be feted alongside Taylor, "whom I love very much," and the "incredible" Peck, who is, he said, "a dear, dear friend."