We are not sure which of Al Pacino’s iconic roles landed him in the illustrious group of National Medal of Arts winners. Take your pick: Michael Corleone, Frank Serpico, Shylock or Jack Kevorkian. All have been acclaimed.
Monday the American actor was among those cultural notables who received the arts medal at the White House and his citation noted his “signature intensity.”
President Obama and Michelle Obama presented the annual arts medals, as well as the National Humanities Medals, at an afternoon ceremony. The awards are the highest acknowledgment of cultural achievement given by the federal government.
The arts medals also were awarded to painter Will Barnet, poet Rita Dove, philanthropist Emily Rauh Pulitzer, sculptor Martin Puryear, country great Mel Tillis and pianist Andre Watts. The award was also given to the USO.
The humanities medals were given to poet John Ashbery, philosopher Amartya Sen, historian Robert Darnton, historian Teofilo Ruiz, philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, music scholar Charles Rosen, literary scholar Andrew Delbanco and literary scholar Ramon Saldivar. The National History Day program was also cited.
Here’s a sample of Tillis’s best.