Kris KristoffersonKris Kristofferson shared an emotional night with an invitation-only audience during the 57th annual BMI Country Awards last night (Nov. 10) in Nashville, as the worldwide performing rights organization named the singer/songwriter and actor their latest BMI Icon.

Before the event got underway, Kris told The Boot, "The honest truth is, I am very honored but I am really uncomfortable [because] everybody is saying something praiseworthy. I feel a little stupid. But I'm awfully grateful that what I love to do means enough to other people that I'm able to do it."

Kris' longtime pal Willie Nelson had a ready answer when Kris confessed the event might be hard on him. Willie, who received the same honor two years ago, quipped "That's why I'm gonna like it so much; you're gonna hate it."

Willie, Vince Gill and Patty Griffin each performed one of Kris' classic pieces, then joined together to do what is perhaps his most famous composition, 'Me and Bobby McGee.'

In his introductory remarks, BMI president Del Bryant noted, "Kris Kristofferson has had more influence on multiple generations of music makers than anyone," Taking the stage to receive his award, Kris thanked all the publishers and songwriters who had helped him throughout his career, naming such fellow greats as Roger Miller, Hank Cochran, Tom T. Hall and Harlan Howard. He then added, "And thanks to Vince and Patty for making me cry!"

Kris continued to wipe away tears during the ceremony as friends performed and Bryant spoke eloquently about his remarkable life and career. A Rhodes Scholar, Kris was headed to West Point to teach when he took a two-week detour through Nashville. His career as a songwriter has yielded 48 BMI Country and Pop Awards for his compositions including 'Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down,' "Why Me' 'Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again),' 'Help Me Make It Through the Night,' and 'For the Good Times.' A three-time Grammy winner, he has also starred in numerous films including 'A Star Is Born,' for which he received a Golden Globe award as Best Motion Picture Actor. In addition to his career as a solo artist, Kris teamed with Willie, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash to record and perform as the Highwaymen. His latest album for New West Records, 'Closer to the Bone,' was released in September of this year.

Other awards were handed out last night to BMI songwriters and publishers, including the Songwriter of the Year trophy to Bobby Pinson, who penned Sugarland's chart-toppers 'All I Want to Do' and 'Already Gone,' as well as co-writing Toby Keith's 'She Never Cried in Front of Me' and Josh Gracin's nostalgic 'We Weren't Crazy.'

Taylor Swift's 'Love Story' was named Song of the Year, for the singer-songwriter received the Robert J. Burton Award. The tune received more airplay than any other BMI country song in the past year.

Brooks & Dunn were presented with the BMI Presidents Award, an honor only bestowed on unique occasions when an artist has distinctly and profoundly influenced the music industry.