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Dwayne Johnson Delivers Emotional Tribute to Late Father: “That Guy Was a Trailblazer”

by Etan Vlessing | HollywoodReporter.Com

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The choked up ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ star recalled “tough love” from Rocky Johnson when accepting the Hollywood Critics Association’s honor during a virtual awards ceremony on Friday night.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson called on his fans to make a difference in people’s lives while accepting The Trailblazer Award from the Hollywood Critics Association at the 4th annual and virtual HCA Film Awards on Friday night.

“It doesn’t matter what’s in your bank account, or what kind of car you drive. That shit doesn’t matter. It’s just how you make people feel,” the Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle star said.

His acceptance speech was preceded by a short video that recalled Johnson’s past wish-giving to kids and teens as part of his longtime support for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and donations he personally made to frontline workers and first responders amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s the anchoring reminder that if we’re lucky enough and fortunate enough to be in a position where you can make someone feel good and you can create moments for them that they will never forget for the rest of their lives — That is power,” he said.

And, finally, a visibly emotional Johnson paid tribute to his late father, Rocky Johnson, a WWE Hall of Famer who died in Jan. 2020, aged 75. “That guy was a trailblazer. As complicated as our relationship was — father and son, tough love, tough love — he was a trailblazer because what trailblazers do is change people’s behavior. And he did everything he could to send people home happy,” Johnson said.

He wasn’t alone in turning his acceptance speech to his activism, as Zack Snyder, in receiving the Valiant Award from the HCA, praised his fans for supporting his mental health awareness and suicide prevention efforts.

The Hollywood director, appearing remotely from the set of Justice League, which is set to bow on March 18 on HBO Max, recalled in December 2020 when Snyder and his fanbase helped raise over $500,000 dollars for the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

“When everyone watches the movie on March 18 and the credits roll, the real achievement will be all the incredible work that’s been done for mental health awareness and suicide prevention and I’m proud to be a small part of it,” Snyder said.

The director of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was being honored for how he and his wife, Deborah Snyder, who is a producer on Justice League, responded to the death of their daughter, Autumn Snyder, by suicide in March 2017 at age 20.

During prize-giving on Friday night, Promising Young Woman won for best picture and star Carey Mulligan was named best actress. Meanwhile, Chloe Zhao was named best female director for Nomadland, and the best male director crown went to Darius Marder for Sound of Metal. Delroy Lindo was named best actor for his star turn in Da 5 Bloods.

The HCA also gave out honorary awards to Nicole Beharie, Lin Manuel Miranda, Dante Spinotti and to the movie Judas and The Black Messiah. The 4th annual HCA Film Awards streamed virtually on the official HCA Facebook page and YouTube Channel.