France honoured film director Martin Scorsese by making him an officer of its Legion of Honor and gave actor Leonardo DiCaprio the slightly less prestigious Arts and Letters award. Culture minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres hailed Scorseseâ€™s respect â€œfor the rights of artistsâ€ at a ceremony.
â€œI donâ€™t know what to say after such a presentation,â€ said Scorsese, director of â€˜The Aviatorâ€™ â€” that stars DiCaprio as Howard Hughes. â€œFrench cinema of the late 50â€™s, and the 60â€™s and 70â€™s still, for me, is such an extraordinary inspiration,â€ said the 62-year-old director. â€œNothing has really come close to it in recent years,â€ Scorsese added.
Napoleon Bonaparte created the Legion dâ€™Honneur in 1802. It recognises military, cultural, scientific or social contributions to France, including those by people who arenâ€™t French
The French minister hailed DiCaprio whose films also include â€˜Whatâ€™s Eating Gilbert Grapeâ€™, â€˜Titanicâ€™ and Scorseseâ€™s â€˜Gangs of New Yorkâ€™ as a movie icon and as the â€œlittle prince of Hollywood and bad boy of LA.â€ â€œPeter Pan of cinema, you are a global star,â€ the minister said as the 30-year-old actor looked on with an embarrassed smile. â€” AP