Oprah Winfrey to Receive Academy's Hersholt Humanitarian Award
James Earl Jones and makeup artist Dick Smith have been chosen to receive Honorary Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Oprah Winfrey will be honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
The awards, which were voted Tuesday night by the Academy's board of governors, will be handed out at the 3rd Annual Governors Awards, which will be held Nov. 12 at the Grand Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center.
While she is best known as a TV host and producer, Winfrey received an Oscar nomination as best supporting actress for her film debut in 1985's The Color Purple, and she has made several Oscar show appearances since. In fact, at the 67th Academy Awards in 1995, she presented the Hersholt Award to Quincy Jones. Now it's her turn to accept the honor, an Oscar statuette given to an individual "whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry."
Winfrey's philanthropic efforts include Oprah's Angel Network, the Oprah Winfrey Foundation and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, which opened in South Africa in 2007.
Despite his ubiquitous movie presence -- not only did he lend his voice to Darth Vader in Star Wars, but he has appeared in more than 50 films -- Jones has only received one Academy Award nomination: A best lead actor nom in 1971 for his performance as boxer Jack Jefferson in The Great White Hope. He made his film debut in 1964 in Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. His other films have included Field of Dreams, Coming to America and a series of the Tom Clancy/Jack Ryan movies, beginning with The Hunt for Red October, in which he played Vice Admiral James Greer.
Although he has won just one Oscar, for the make-up in 1984's Amadeus, and was nominated for another, for 1989's Dad, Smith has left his mark on dozens of films, earning unofficial standing as the "godfather of makeup." He began his career in 1945 as NBC's first make-up man and went on to lend his talents to such films as The Godfather, The Exorcist and Taxi Driver. In the process, he has also schooled a whole generation of award-winning makeup artists in his craft.
While it is usually referred to as the honorary Oscar, the Academy's Honorary Award is given for "extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.
Writer-director Phil Robinson will produce the ceremonies, which aren't broadcast, along with the producing team of Charlie Haykel and Juliane Hare of Don Mischer Prods.
A new tradition, the Governors Awards were instituted two years ago as a way of celebrating the honorary Oscar winners without the time constraints of the annual Oscar broadcast, thereby freeing up the broadcast to focus on its competitive categories. Although since one of this year's awards is going to Winfrey, it's a safe bet she will also be treated to more than just a passing bow during the broadcast.
Last year, Francis Ford Coppola was the recipient of the Thalberg Award, which recognized his producing career, while historian Kevin Brownlow and actor Eli Wallach were on hand to receive Honorary Awards. Director Jean-Luc Godard was also honored, although he chose not to attend the ceremony.