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Academy Names 2012 Governors Awards: Honorees Jeffrey Katzenberg, Hal Needham, D.A. Pennebaker, And George Stevens, Jr.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted tonight to present Honorary Awards to stunt performer Hal Needham, documentarian D. A. Pennebaker and arts advocate George Stevens, Jr., and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to philanthropist Jeffrey Katzenberg. All four awards will be presented at the Academy’s 4th Annual Governors Awards dinner on Saturday, December 1, at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center®.

Hal Needham is a legendary stunt performer and coordinator who has worked on more than 300 feature films including “The Spirit of St. Louis,” “How the West Was Won,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Little Big Man” and “Chinatown.” A pioneer in improving stunt technology and safety procedures, Needham also co-founded Stunts Unlimited, and is known for mentoring young stunt performers. In 1986, the Academy presented Needham with a Scientific and Engineering Award for the design and development of the Shotmaker Elite camera car and crane, which allows filmmakers greater versatility in shooting action sequences. Needham made his directorial debut with “Smokey and the Bandit.” He went on to direct such features as “Hooper” and the “Cannonball Run” films.

D.A. Pennebaker, a pioneer of modern nonfiction film, has directed more than 20 feature-length documentaries, including “Don’t Look Back,” “Monterey Pop,” “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,”

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OSCAR: Stars Gather For Governors Awards

Pete Hammond

“These awards really took flight this year,” Warren Beatty effusively said to 2nd annual Governors Awards producer and Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences 1st Vice President Sid Ganis right after the ceremony ended around 11 PM Saturday night. It took place at the Grand Ballroom in the Hollywood and Highland complex where the Academy’s Post–Oscars Governors Ball is held every February. This time, these awards honored indelible actor Eli Wallach, film historian and preservationist Kevin Brownlow, iconic director Jean-Luc Godard, and Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award receipient Francis Ford Coppola. “Can I use the ‘F’ word?,” Beatty asked. “I think the movie industry should tell the television industry to go F*** itself.” His likely meaning (at least in ‘Warren speak’) was that commercial interests should never compel the AMPAS to sell the Governors Awards as a TV special — a possibility raised after last year’s show — and ruin the “specialness” of the evening.

This separate lifetime achievement ceremony was created last year as a way to shorten the actual Oscar telecast and to hand out more than one honor each year in a more relaxed setting where the recipients aren’t forced to keep their acceptance speeches to 30 seconds or less. They aren’t televised and likely never will be according to Academy officials I talked to who were very pleased with the outcome. “This must have been what the original Oscars were like,” said one. And even though … Read More »

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Jean-Luc Godard Will Not Show Up For Honorary Oscar

Beverly Hills, CA — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today that, following a two-month-long cordial exchange of correspondence with Academy president Tom Sherak, Jean-Luc Godard has regretfully notified Sherak that he will not be able to attend the November 13th Governors Awards and receive his Honorary Award in person.

“He reiterated his thanks for the award,” reported Sherak, “and also sent his good wishes to the other individuals being honored the same night – Kevin Brownlow, Francis Ford Coppola and Eli Wallach – who he refers to as ‘the three other musketeers.’ ”

The November 13 dinner ceremony, which is being produced by Sid Ganis and Don Mischer, will pay tribute to Godard through film clips and commentary by his admirers. The award will be accepted on Godard’s behalf by the Academy and following the event, the Academy will arrange for the Oscar® statuette to be delivered to him in Switzerland.

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