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AMPAS to honor Francis Ford Coppola

Governors Awards also feting Wallach, Godard, Brownlow

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will honor Francis Ford Coppola, Eli Wallach, French director Jean-Luc Godard and preservationist Kevin Brownlow during its second annual Governors Awards in November.

Coppola, a five-time Oscar winner for "Patton" and his first two "Godfather" movies, will receive the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, given to a producer for his or her body of work. Although best known as a writer and director, Coppola founded indie production company American Zoetrope in 1969; it has produced more than 30 films including "The Black Stallion," "The Outsiders," "Lost in Translation" and "The Good Shepherd."

Honorary Academy Awards will be presented to Wallach, Godard and Brownlow.

Wallach, 94, who recently appeared in "The Ghost Writer" and appears in the upcoming "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," never has been honored by the Academy -- in fact, he never has been nominated. But his resume includes such classics as "Baby Doll," "The Misfits," "The Magnificent Seven" and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."

Godard, as a critic and filmmaker, is one of the seminal figures in the French New Wave movement and has directed such groundbreaking films as "Breathless," "Contempt" and "Weekend." His latest film, "Socialism," is slated to play at next month's New York Film Festival.

 

Brownlow is a prominent film historian and author of the classic study of the silent era, "The Parade's Gone By." He has worked on the restoration of movies like Abel Gance's 1927 "Napoleon" and made such docu¬mentaries as "Unknown Chaplin" and "D.W. Griffith: Father of Film."

"Each of these honorees has touched movie audiences worldwide and influenced the motion picture industry through their work," Academy president Tom Sherak said. "It will be an honor to celebrate their extraordinary achievements and contributions at the Governors Awards."

While the Academy has extended invitations to the four men, it's not known yet whether all four will attend.

The Academy's board of governors, at its monthly meeting Tuesday evening, approved the honors.

Traditionally, the honorary trophies were handed out during the Oscar broadcast, but last year for the first time, the Academy established a separate, nontelevised ceremony, an informal and collegial banquet that was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Hollywood & Highland Center.

Actress Lauren Bacall, director-producer Roger Corman and cinematographer Gordon Willis were the recipients last year of Honorary Awards. The Thalberg went to producer John Calley.

While the honorees were acknowledged during the subsequent Academy Awards show in March, the move is designed to save airtime during the Oscarcast. It also allows the Academy to spend more time lavishing praise on the honorary winners at the separate awards presentation, which harkens back to the spirit of the original Oscar dinners.

This year's honorees are a particularly eclectic group. Just as having a private event away from the gaze of TV cameras contributed to a more spontaneous dinner last year, not having to worry about a nationwide TV audience seems to have allowed the board added freedom in coming up with its far-flung choices.

The Honorary Awards are Oscar statuettes; the Thalberg is a bust of its namesake.

This year's Governors Awards, which will be produced by former Academy president Sid Ganis with Don Mischer Prods., will be held Nov. 13.