Jeffrey Katzenberg
Jeffrey Katzenberg

Wednesday night the Academy board of governors convened to pick this year's winners of the Academy's Governors Awards.

For the fourth year, the annual event will be held at what was the Kodak Theater (now the Dolby) at Hollywood and Highland, on December 1. It's not televised; it's a night when the film industry gets to together over dinner and celebrates achievement--incuding the coveted Jean Hersholt humanitarian award, the Irving Thalberg award and honorary Oscars-- without having to worry about fitting into ABC's global kudocast.

It's great that the Academy is stepping outside the box to award innovative stuntman Hal Needham ("Little Big Man," "Chinatown"), documentarian D. A. Pennebaker ("Don't Look Back") and preservationist George Stevens, Jr. with honorary Oscars. And thanks to his longstanding work with the Motion Picture Film and Television Fund, the Hersholt Humanitarian Award goes to DreamWorks Animation honcho and philanthropist Jeffrey Katzenberg.

The Academy Honorary Award is given for "extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy." The Thalberg Award is given to "a creative producer whose body of work reflects a consistently high quality of motion picture production."

The Governors Awards will be produced by PR branch board member Cheryl Boone Isaacs, with support from producer Don Mischer. Oprah Winfrey, John Calley, Lauren Bacall, James Earl Jones, Francis Ford Coppola, Gordon Willis and Dick Smith are among recent Governors Award winners.

Full bios are below.