morgan_freeman_web.jpgLOS ANGELES (AP) — In accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award Sunday night, Morgan Freeman showed all the characteristics with which he's long graced the movies.

He was sharp, honed and sure. He was dignified, certainly, but also mischievous, as when he interrupted his speech to take notice of a famed musician in the front of the crowd at the 69th annual Golden Globes. “Hi, Elton,” said Freeman with a glint in his eye.

In the past year, the 74-year-old Freeman has received the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award and the People's Choice Awards' first-ever movie icon award. The Cecil B. DeMille award follows five Oscar nominations (and one win for his supporting performance in Million Dollar Baby) and five Golden Globe nominations, including a win for his lead performance in Driving Miss Daisy.

Few have matched Freeman's dignified screen presence, but one of them helped introduce the actor Sunday night: Sidney Poitier. “In my humble opinion, sir, you are indeed a prince in the profession you have chosen,” said Poitier, a previous DeMille honoree, who himself received a standing ovation. “We thank you, Mr. Freeman, for raising the level of excellence yet another notch.”

It was clear Poitier's words were deeply meaningful, as Freeman said, “Being up here receiving this award, this tribute that you yourself received, makes it clear to me that though they call this the Cecil B. DeMille Award, in my house, it will also be called the Sidney Poitier Award.”

Poitier ended his tribute to Freeman with a nod to the future. “May your journey be long and your characters continue to multiply.”

Photo: Morgan Freeman