Jack Nicholson and Julia Roberts lead the way as the stars fete director Mike Nichols


Julia and Mike, who worked together on Closer and Charlie Wilson's War, celebrate the director's achievement with a hug backstage at the AFI event


Hollywood heavyweight Jack Nicholson was in fits of laughter during the ceremony 


Emma Thompson, who addressed the audience at the star-studded bash, stops to chat to Oprah, last year's winner Michael Douglas and Forest Whitaker

11 JUNE 2010

In a room laden with Hollywood heavyweights, from Jack Nicholson to Julia Roberts, Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford, there was one man who managed to shine brighter than all of the screen stars.

This week, famed director Mike Nichols was firmly in the spotlight as the winner of the 38th American Film Institute Life Achievement Award for his contribution to the industry - and the biggest names in the business stepped out to show their support.

As only the twelfth person to have won all of the major US entertainment awards – he has an Emmy, an Oscar, a Grammy and a Tony – the man behind The Graduate was feted in front of his peers on Thursday, having made 22 films to date.

Celebrating with the 78-year-old were Emma Thompson, Cher, Natalie Portman, Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg and wife Kate Capshaw, Oprah Winfrey, Annette Bening and Warren Beauty to name but a few.

Michael Douglas, Forest Whitaker, Robin Williams and Morgan Freeman were also in attendance.

Many of those in the room had in fact been in Mike's shoes as recipients of the prestigious award, including Harrison, Jack, Warren and Michael, who won last year's gong.

There was great laughter on the night as the A-listers clamoured to pay homage to the director, who was also supported by his news anchor wife Diane Sawyer.

And there were of course some more emotional moments as tales were recounted about Mike - the man behind such classic films as Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?, Catch 22, and, more recently, Closer and Charlie Wilson's War.