"Let's be clear, this ain't the Hersholt Humanitarian Award," screenwriter Phil Robinson clarified last night, standing to salute Jean Luc-Godard and carefully noting that the Swiss director was being awarded the honorary Oscar for his artistic achievement.
In the wake of a recent debate about Godard being anti-semitic, many were wondering how the Academy would handle last night's Hollywood tribute to the filmmaker at the annual Governors Awards.
Toasting the filmmaker's "unapologetic orneriness," Robinson (video link) looked to a large photo of Godard as he made his remarks, since the director had decided not to attend the California ceremony.
"Mr. Godard, in your long career as a filmmaker and provocateur, let's be honest, you have said things that have offended pretty much everybody in this room at least once," Robinson continued, "You have also said really snarky things about Hollywood and the Oscars. But then again, so has everybody in this room at least once."
Vincent Cassel (video link), Charles Fox (video link), Mark Goldblatt (video link), Mark Johnson (video link) and Haskell Wexler (video link) were among those who stood to salute the director last night at the AMPAS ceremony at Hollywood and Highland.
"He never used his art to promote bigotry and that's a key distinction that I had to understand so that I could honor him tonight. Aside from his genius." added filmmaker Lynne Littman, during her tribute. "Godard dared us to misbehave both as grown-ups and as artists," she continued, "He is still misbehaving and I'd like to think tonight is the first we've ever given an Oscar for it."
Vincent Cassel honoring Godard last night.
Photo credit: Richard Harbaugh ©A.M.P.A.S.