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In a heartfelt speech, O’Hara reflected on watching Culkin become an international star at the age of 10. “Home Alone was, is, and always will be a beloved global sensation,” she said. “The reason families all over the world can’t let a year go by without watching and loving Home Alone together is because of Macaulay Culkin.”
Home Alone was an enormous box office hit when it was released in 1990, making $476.7m (£352m). Culkin and O’Hara both returned for the New York City-set sequel Home Alone 2 in 1992.
“Yes, he had a most excellent script and a wonderful director,” continued O’Hara, “But it is Macaulay’s perfect performance as Kevin McCallister that gave us that little everyboy on an extraordinary adventure.”
Turning to Culkin, she added: “I know you worked really hard, I know you did, but you made acting look like the most natural thing in the world to do. It was really as if we’d ambushed this real little boy named Kevin to make a movie and he just went along with it for the fun of it.”
Of Culkin’s dramatic rise to fame, O’Hara said: “This beautiful 10-year-old little boy was called a superstar, a moneymaker, one of the hottest leading young men in Hollywood by the world over. How does anyone survive that?
“I believe you’d have to possess a certain quality, a gift, that dear John Hughes obviously recognized in you Macaulay, your sense of humour. It’s a sign of intelligence in a child and a key to surviving life at any age, From what I see, you have brought that sense of sweet yet twisted, yet totally relatable, sense of humor to everything you have chosen to do since Home Alone.”
O’Hara concluded her speech by thanking Culkin for including “your fake mom that left you home alone not once but twice”. After the pair hugged, Culkin wiped away tears.
Natasha Lyonne, who starred alongside Culkin in 2003’s Party Monster, also spoke at the ceremony. “Mac, I’m so proud of you,” said Lyonne. “I remember our first meeting, at a bar on the Lower East Side. It was down some stairs in the back, at some random, no-name, who-cares spot. We were about to start filming a true crime film about the Michael Alig murders in the ‘90s rave scene of underground New York. You played Michael Alig, I was playing Brooke, someone in your inner circle. We clocked each other and I remember thinking: ‘That’s my friend.’ And we were.”
Attendees included Culkin’s partner Brenda Song and their two children, his siblings Rory and Quinn, his goddaughter Paris Jackson and Party Monster co-star Seth Green.