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Godard Will Miss the Academy's Governors Awards

by Anne Thompson
October 25, 2010 6:02 AM
12 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood

The Academy confirms that filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard will not be making the trek across the pond to attend the November 13 Governor's Awards at the Kodak Theatre. Last year, when ailing John Calley couldn't accept the Thalberg award, a heavyweight roster of past winners turned up to honor him, including Steven Spielberg, Dino De Laurentiis, Norman Jewison and Warren Beatty. Who will honor Godard?

Gone are Eric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol, Francois Truffaut, Samuel Fuller, Juliet Berto, Eddie Constantine, Akim Tamiroff, Jean-Claude Brialy, Suzanne Schiffman, Yves Montand, David Newman, Norman Mailer, Burgess Meredith and Jean Seberg. But over the decades Godard worked with an amazing range of international collaborators who are still around. I'd love to see Jeanne Moreau, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina, Pierre Rissient, Raoul Coutard. Michel Piccoli, Albert Maysles, D.A. Pennebaker, Barbet Schroeder, Claude Brasseur, Anne-Marie Mieville, Jean-Pierre Leaud, Marina Vlady, Jean-Claude Carriere, Vanessa Redgrave, Gerard Depardieu, Jules Pfeiffer, Robert Benton, Jean-Pierre Gorin, Elliot Gould, Jane Fonda, Isabelle Huppert, Nathalie Baye, Hanna Schygulla, Emmanuelle Seigner, Emmanuelle Beart, Peter Sellars, Woody Allen, Leos Carax, Julie Delpy, Johnny Hallyday, Marianne Faithful, Jane Birkin, Alain Delon, Patti Smith, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards (who has a memoir to promote) or Brigitte Bardot. And director Steven Soderbergh is a huge Godard fan.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today that, following a two-month-long cordial exchange of correspondence with Academy president Tom Sherak, Jean-Luc Godard has regretfully notified Sherak that he will not be able to attend the November 13th Governors Awards and receive his Honorary Award in person.

He reiterated his thanks for the award,” reported Sherak, “and also sent his good wishes to the other individuals being honored the same night – Kevin Brownlow, Francis Ford Coppola and Eli Wallach – who he refers to as ‘the three other musketeers.’ ”

The November 13 dinner ceremony, which is being produced by Sid Ganis and Don Mischer, will pay tribute to Godard through film clips and commentary by his admirers. The award will be accepted on Godard’s behalf by the Academy and following the event, the Academy will arrange for the Oscar® statuette to be delivered to him in Switzerland.

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More: Awards

12 Comments

  • The Pope | October 26, 2010 12:26 PMReply

    Pierre Guinie,
    Godard is not a fraud (and this from someone who vehemently disagrees with his politics and media theories). He WAS an amazingly talented and insightful filmmaker who over a ten year period redefined cinema again and again and again. He was never interested in emotions or narrative, he was a polemicist and overall, appears to be a misanthrope... but you can't sit in any seat in any cinema and call him a fraud. He turned the mechanics of cinema inside out.

  • Landon | October 25, 2010 12:37 PMReply

    Pierre Guinie,

    For being such unwatchable films, I sure do find myself watching them often.

  • Anne Thompson | October 25, 2010 10:33 AMReply

    Exhilarating and brilliant are the films directed by Godard in his prime, which start flawlessly with Breathless in 1959 and continue through 1968's Le Gai Savoir, in my opinion. I screened Alphaville and Breathless for my criticism class at USC; most did not get Alphaville, but Breathless played well, as fresh as when it first came out. Hugely influential. And yes, Tarantino quotes him. I hope he does tribute him--his intro for Roger Corman was a highlight last year.

  • pierre guinle | October 25, 2010 10:00 AMReply

    Godard is a fraud.I saw recently BREATHLESS on TV. It's unwatchable (as it was when it came out). I saw again snippets of LE MEPRIS and PIERROT LE FOU, both totally unwatchable. Serves the Academy right for giving him an award.

  • Joyce Tyler | October 25, 2010 9:52 AMReply

    Nathalie Baye did two movies with Godard and was brave enough to ask him what the hell he was trying to say. It would be fun if she attended.

  • Greg Cavinato | October 25, 2010 9:10 AMReply

    Claude Chabrol? Well, he died last month so I guess he won't be there either. Anyway, Godard hates those kinds of ceremonies.

  • Keil Shults | October 25, 2010 8:54 AMReply

    I don't doubt that they can honor them in greater depth at a special ceremony apart from the Oscars, but what a thrill it would be to see clips from The Godfather Pt. II and Breathless broadcast for such a large worldwide audience. Or to see The Conversation revisited, even if only momentarily, for my admiration toward that film continues to grow over time and repeated viewings.

  • Brian | October 25, 2010 7:46 AMReply

    Tarantino should show up to honor Godard. He's the one Hollywood filmmaker I can think of who might be able to pass for Godard's spiritual heir.

    Of course, with our luck, they'll get the geniuses who remade BREATHLESS.

    Oh, and BTW, David Newman would be a neat trick, considering he'd have to come back from the grave for it.

  • Anne Thompson | October 25, 2010 7:03 AMReply

    I wondered, as I culled this list, how many of these people actually like Godard after working with him. Good point.

  • Anne Thompson | October 25, 2010 7:02 AMReply

    What's great about the Governors Awards, though, is that they can take the time to honor everyone in a different way, in the room, intimately. The event last year was extraordinary. They'd never have the time to do it in depth on Oscar night.

  • Tom Brueggemann | October 25, 2010 7:01 AMReply

    Your list of possible tribute speakers is terrific.

    One name though you can forget is Depardieu - when he had an onstage interview at the Montreal Film Festival recently, he spoke about how much he loathed both Godard personally and his films.

  • Keil Shults | October 25, 2010 6:46 AMReply

    I think it's a travesty that two filmmakers like Coppola and Godard will not be honored during the actual Oscar telecast, aside from possibly a quick mention. You can't tell me that time can't be shaved elsewhere from the program. We don't need all the dance routines, comedic skits (that typically fizzle), and lengthy recaps of all 10 Best Pic nominees. Godard was a pioneer who continues to make challenging film to this day, and while most casual Oscar watchers may not know his work, that's exactly the reason why it would be worth informing the public of his contributions to cinema. And as someone whose favorite film is The Godfather, and who feels that all of Coppola's films from the 1970s are masterpieces, it's simply criminal that his work won't be celebrated appropriately come Oscar night. Just thinking about this makes me wish I was watching The Conversation.

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