It was late Wednesday night when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the four people that will be awarded honorary Oscars. Among those to receive Academy honors are George Stevens and Jeffrey Katzenberg.
It’s not that long that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences began considering people not really “in the industry” for honorary Oscars. In fact, just last year the Academy honored Oprah Winfrey and James Earl for their huge contributions to the industry. This year, during the fourth annual Governors Awards ceremony, George Stevens and Jeffrey Katzenberg will receive similar honors.
On December 1st, stuntman Hal Needham, filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker, producer George Stevens Jr. and studio executive Jeffrey Katzenberg will receive honors from the Academy. The 61-year-old DreamWorks Animation executive Jeffrey Katzenberg will be the receiver of a honor given only 34 times in the past: the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian award.
It’s an impressive casting for the Academy’s fourth Governors Awards ceremony. Stuntman Hal Needham was part of over 300 feature films and is a co-founder of Stunts Unlimited, a place where young stunt performers are mentored by master daredevils.
Filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker will receive a honorary Oscar too. He directed over 20 feature-length documentaries and cinema connoisseurs often refer to him as one of the fathers of the cinema verite movement.
George Stevens Jr. is the director of the American Film Institute under whom the Center for Advanced Film Studies was developed. He is also the creator of the AFI Life Achievement Award and the co-founder and producer of the Kennedy Center Honors.
DreamWorks Animation chief executive Jeffrey Katzenberg will receive one of the most praised Academy honors: the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian award. It is the Academy’s way of honoring the 61-year-old’s decades of supporting various philanthropic campaigns that were of important benefit to the motion picture industry. Under his leadership, the studio raised $200 million. He is also a co-founder for DreamWorks SKG. In fact his is the K between S from Steven Spielberg and G from David Geffen.
The Governors Awards have been sparking controversy but also raised appraisal. It was often that people argued the Oscars should be awarded to the insiders of the movie industry, even if they’re not part of the A-list celebrity rank.