The Motion Picture Academy's board of governors took a vote Tuesday night on this year's honorary Oscar winners, and came up with a remarkable list.
The coveted Irving G. Thalberg award goes to director Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather saga). Honorary awards will go to Brit historian and preservationist Kevin Brownlow, who wrote the must-read silent cinema text The Parade's Gone By and restored Abel Gance's Napoleon; French critic-turned-director and grand semiotician Jean-Luc Godard (Breathless, Contempt); and actor Eli Wallach (The Good, The Bad and the Ugly), who at age 94 turned in a canny cameo in Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer this year and also stars in Oliver Stone's upcoming Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.
I look forward to the awards dinner on November 13 at the Kodak Theatre. Last year's inaugural event, honoring the likes of Lauren Bacall, Gordon Willis and Roger Corman, was a night to remember. This year, ex-Academy president Sid Ganis and the co-producer of the next Academy Awards, Don Mischer, will produce. Stated Academy President Tom Sherak:
“Each of these honorees has touched movie audiences worldwide and influenced the motion picture industry through their work. It will be an honor to celebrate their extraordinary achievements and contributions at the Governors Awards.”
The Honorary Award, an Oscar® statuette, is given to an individual 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, a bust of the motion picture executive, is given to "a creative producer whose body of work reflects a consistently high quality of motion picture production."