Woody Allen gets honorary Golden Globe

Woody Allen Allen's films include The Purple Rose Of Cairo and Manhattan

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Director Woody Allen is to receive the prestigious Cecil B DeMille award for contribution to cinema at next year's Golden Globes.

The 77-year-old is best known for his neurotic romantic comedies - notably Annie Hall, for which he won Oscars as both director and screenwriter.

"There is no-one more worthy," said awards organiser Theo Kingma.

It is not known whether Allen, who usually shuns Hollywood events, will attend the ceremony next January.

He was a no-show at last year's Golden Globes, where he won best original screenplay for his Parisian time-travel comedy Midnight In Paris - leaving Nicole Kidman to accept the trophy on his behalf.

The New Yorker instead concentrates on his prolific movie-making career, averaging a film a year.

His latest, Blue Jasmine, is his 49th in the director's chair, and stars Cate Blanchett as a socialite whose life of privilege comes to an abrupt halt during the financial crisis.

Woody Allen speaks to Newsnight about his latest project, Blue Jasmine

Born Allen Stewart Konigsberg in 1935, Woody Allen wrote gags for entertainers like Bob Hope and Sid Caesar before becoming a stand-up in his own right.

His nerdy, nervous delivery was a sly cover for devastating one-liners: "Sex without love is a meaningless experience," went one, "but as far as meaningless experiences go, it's pretty damn good."

After penning scripts for The Tonight Show, and columns for the New Yorker, he made his debut as a Broadway playwright with the Cold War farce Don't Drink The Water in 1966.

A lukewarm film adaptation, as well as the lacklustre direction of his first movie script What's New Pussycat?, convinced him he should step behind the camera himself.

He hit his stride with Annie Hall and Manhattan, two New York-based comedies, in which Allen perfected his blend of neurosis, psychoanalysis and wry observations on romance.

He has won four Oscars from a total of 23 Oscar nominations over the years, for films including The Purple Rose of Cairo, Hannah and Her Sisters, Crimes and Misdemeanours, and Bullets Over Broadway.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which presents the Golden Globes, described him as "an international treasure".

By winning the Cecil B DeMille award, Allen joins a distinguished club which boasts the likes of Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor amongst its members.

Last year's recipient was Jodie Foster, who memorably used her acceptance speech to speak publicly about her sexuality for the first time.

DeMille was an influential Hollywood director who successfully spanned the silent and sound eras of film.

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