The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted Tuesday night (August 26) to present Honorary Awards to Jean-Claude Carrière, Hayao Miyazaki and Maureen O’Hara, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Harry Belafonte. All four awards will be presented at the Academy’s 6th Annual Governors Awards on Saturday, November 8, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center®. This year’s group were voted in Tuesday night at a meeting of the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. In our AwardsWatch poll of most likely recipients of this year’s awards Gena Rowlands and Max von Sydow led the vote totals. Maureen O’Hara was close behind. Harry Belafonte and Hayao Miyazaki did not receive any votes.
Carrière, who began his career as a novelist, was introduced to screenwriting by French comedian and filmmaker Pierre Étaix, with whom he shared an Oscar® for the live action short subject “Heureux Anniversaire (Happy Anniversary)” in 1962. He received two more nominations during his nearly two-decade collaboration with director Luis Buñuel, for the screenplays for “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” and “That Obscure Object of Desire.” Carrière also has collaborated notably with such directors as Volker Schlöndorff (“The Tin Drum”), Jean-Luc Godard (“Every Man for Himself”) and Andrzej Wajda (“Danton”). He earned a fourth Oscar nomination for “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” with director Philip Kaufman.
Miyazaki is an artist, writer, director, producer and three-time Oscar nominee in the Animated Feature Film category, winning in 2002 for “Spirited Away.” His other nominations were for “Howl’s Moving Castle” in 2005 and “The Wind Rises” last year. Miyazaki gained an enormous following in his native Japan for such features as “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind,” “Laputa: Castle in the Sky,” “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Kiki’s Delivery Service” before breaking out internationally in the late 1990s with “Princess Mononoke.” He is the co-founder of Studio Ghibli, a renowned animation studio based in Tokyo.
O’Hara, a native of Dublin, Ireland, came to Hollywood in 1939 to star opposite Charles Laughton in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” She went on to appear in a wide range of feature films, including the swashbucklers “The Black Swan” and “Sinbad the Sailor,” the dramas “This Land Is Mine” and “A Woman’s Secret,” the family classics “Miracle on 34th Street” and “The Parent Trap,” the spy comedy “Our Man in Havana” and numerous Westerns. She was a favorite of director John Ford, who cast her in five of his films, including “How Green Was My Valley,” “Rio Grande” and “The Quiet Man.”
An actor, producer, singer and lifelong activist, Belafonte began performing in theaters and nightclubs in and around Harlem, where he was born. From the beginning of his film career, he chose projects that shed needed light on racism and inequality, including “Carmen Jones,” “Odds against Tomorrow” and “The World, the Flesh and the Devil.” He was an early supporter of the Civil Rights Movement, marching and organizing alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. and often funding initiatives with his entertainment income. Belafonte was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1987 and currently serves on the boards of the Advancement Project and the Institute for Policy Studies. His work on behalf of children, education, famine relief, AIDS awareness and civil rights has taken him all over the world.
“The Governors Awards allow us to reflect upon not the year in film, but the achievements of a lifetime,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “We’re absolutely thrilled to honor these outstanding members of our global filmmaking community and look forward to celebrating with them in November.”
The Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, is given “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.”
The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, also an Oscar statuette, is given “to an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”
The Board of Governors Awards were separated from the primetime Oscars telecast to shave time off from the big show but the gala has proved itself quite popular now. It also allowed the winners to be given the time and respect they deserve as awardees and not simply be played off after 30 seconds.
Recipients for the last five years (since the split) have been:
2009: Lauren Bacall, John Calley, Roger Corman and Gordon Willis
2010: Jean-Luc Godard, Kevin Brownlow, Francis Coppola, Eli Wallach
2011: James Earl Jones, Dick Smith, Oprah Winfrey
2012: Jeffrey Katzenberg, Hal Needham, D.A. Pennebaker, George Stevens Jr
2013: Angelina Jolie, Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin