On Friday, The World Jewish Congress honored Academy Award winner Helen Mirren by presenting her with a special recognition for her portrayal of Maria Altmann in the acclaimed hit film “Woman In Gold.”
The WJC awarded her with an antique 1936 Kiddush Cup. Mirren, who is currently starring in the hit Broadway show “The Audience,” was on hand to accept the honor at NYC’s Neue Galerie from WJC head/Neue Galerie co-founder Ronald Lauder. Mirren commented, “I can’t imagine having your family heirlooms stolen from you as Maria did. Whether it’s your mother’s ring, or your grandmother’s, or now your great-grandmother’s – it’s special to you and belongs to you.”
The film is the remarkable true story of one woman’s journey to reclaim her heritage and seek justice for what happened to her family. Sixty years after she fled Vienna during World War II, an elderly Jewish woman, Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), starts her journey to retrieve family possessions seized by the Nazis, among them Klimt’s famous painting Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. Together with her inexperienced but plucky young lawyer Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), she embarks upon a major battle which takes them all the way to the heart of the Austrian establishment and the U.S. Supreme Court, and forces her to confront difficult truths about the past along the way.