US actor Robert de Niro (R) poses with a Tribute award, next to US Director Martin Scorsese during the 17th Marrakech International Film Festival on December 1, 2018. / AFP / FADEL SENNA Image Credit: AFP

US actor Robert De Niro on Saturday received a tribute award at the Marrakech film festival from the hands of his old friend, director Martin Scorcese.

Born in New York in 1943, De Niro’s career began on Broadway, before he discovered cinema at age 20. He worked on a variety of films with Scorsese — from ‘Taxi Driver’ in 1976 to ‘Casino’ in 1995.

The double Oscar winner’s ninth collaboration with Scorsese will be Netflix’s ‘The Irishman’, set for release next year.

“We made our first film together, I think it was over 45 years ago... One of the great blessings of my life,” said De Niro.

Scorsese, while handing him the award joked: “What would this be? The mid-point of his career? It is probably more accurate to say the peak of his career but then this guy has more peaks than the Atlas Mountains.”

De Niro used the occasion to lash out at US President Donald Trump and his “America First” mantra.

“Sadly, in my country we are going through a grotesque version of nationalism... marked by greed, xenophobia and selfishness under the banner of ‘America First,’” he said.

De Niro has been a frequent critic of Trump and used an expletive to condemn the American president at the televised Tony Awards in June, receiving a standing ovation.