Inside The 2012 Governors Awards

Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Will Smith

The fourth annual private dinner for Academy members is this year honoring Hal Needham, D.A. Pennebaker, George Stevens Jr., and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

The Academy's Governors Awards are underway at the Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland, where the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will pay tribute to four filmmakers during the private dinner.

Stuntman and director Hal Needham, documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker and George Stevens Jr., founding director of the American Film Institute and co-founder of the Kennedy Center Honors, will receive honorary Oscars. Longtime studio executive Jeffrey Katzenberg will be honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his philanthropic work.

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The members-only Governors Awards, established in 2009, is among the classiest of awards season events. This post will be updated throughout the evening with the latest happenings from the ceremony, in part from on-the-scene tweets by THR awards analyst Scott Feinberg and the Academy's official Twitter account. Check back to THR for Feinberg's full analysis after the show.

6:50 p.m.

Amy Adams is about to hit the red carpet

6: 56 p.m.

Stevens Jr.’s table includes Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Sidney Poitier, Quincy Jones, Elisabeth Shue, Davis Guggenheim and Tom Brokaw.

Pennebaker’s table includes two fellow documentarians, his wife Chris Hegedus and Michael Moore. (Moore did not wear a baseball cap to the ceremony.) 

At Needham's table are Albert Ruddy and many relatives.

Sitting at Katzenberg's table are Stacey Snider, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Kirk and Anne Douglas, Larry Mark and Mark Burnett.

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7:07 p.m.

Poitier stands with producer Walter Mirisch, with whom he collaborated on the Oscar best picture winner In The Heat of the Night (1967). (See the photo here.)

7:23 p.m.

Former Sen. Chris Dodd, now the head of the Motion Picture Association of America, greets Oscar winner Marvin Hier, the only rabbi in the Academy (he's won two Oscars), with a big hug.          

7:32 p.m.

Academy president Hawk Koch appears on stage and gets the crowd’s attention with a red siren.        

7:39 p.m.

Koch talks about the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is scheduled to open in 2016, and receives nice applause. He asks the audience to raise their glasses and toast the honorees: "Here's looking at you, kids!" 

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7:51 p.m.

Dinner is being served. Check out the first course here and the menu here.

8:06 p.m.

Sen. Al Franken and Kristen Stewart talk during dinner. (View the photo here.)

8:13 p.m.

Quentin Tarantino chats with honorary Needham. (Check out the photo.) 

8:47 p.m. Beatty, Kirk Douglas and Dodd appear to be enjoying one another's company (photo).

8:52 p.m.

Dinner has ended and Franken has taken the stage to talk about Pennebaker.

"The key point about documentaries is that truth is sometimes truer than fiction," he says.

9 p.m. Moore is introduced to present Pennebaker with his honorary Oscar. He begins with a joke about the fiscal cliff and goes on to call Pennebaker "nothing less than the founder of the modern documentary." Moore adds: "Pennebaker's idea was that you would write the movie after you shot it." 

9:07 p.m.

Pennebaker accepts his honorary Oscar: "I bet everybody here already has one of these!" On editing a film he's made with his wife, he quips: "You get divorced about four times a week."

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9:25 p.m.

Pennebaker wraps up his speech after 17 minutes.

9:26 p.m.

Bening appears to present Stevens Jr. "I'll be brief." 

9:28 p.m. Guggenheim reveals he has made a short film to introduce Stevens Jr.

9:33 p.m.

Poitier is on hand to present the honorary Oscar to Stevens Jr. Poitier gets a standing ovation and sits down to read the presentation. 

9:41 p.m.

Stevens, the son of famed director George Stevens (Shane, Giant, A Place in the Sun), says: "I didn't want to devote my life to becoming the second-best filmmaker in my family." He calls on next generation to "challenge the industrialization of filmmaking."

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9:50 p.m.

Needham tears up as he receives a standing ovation following a montage of his work. Quentin Tarantino speaks about the filmmaker, noting only one other stuntman has ever received an Oscar.                

9:54 p.m.

Tarantino to Needham: "I have never worked with you … (but) I have ripped off many shots from you."

10:01 p.m.

The crowd eats up Oscar-winning producer Al Ruddy's (The Godfather) introduction to Needham, who cries with laughter.

10:07 p.m.

Ruddy presents Needham with his award. "You're looking at the luckiest man alive -- and lucky to be alive," the honoree says moments before tearing up. He goes on to say his stunt safety inventions  "would have saved myself some trips to the hospital" had they existed when he started out.

10:14 p.m.

Smith takes the podium to honor Katzenberg and makes a joke about Pennebaker's long speech: "Before I get started, D.A. Pennebaker has a couple of more people that he'd like to thank." 

10:22 p.m.

Hanks appears next to honor Katzenberg, presenting him with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award (photo).

10:31 p.m.

Hanks introduces Katzenberg as "as powerful a man as there has ever been" in Hollywood and a true "public servant." 

10:33 p.m.

Katzenberg recalls advice Kirk Douglas once gave him: "You haven't learned to live until you've learned to give." 

10:39 p.m.

Katzenberg notes that the Hersholt award is the only Oscar that honors work in the "real world."