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James Earl Jones, Oprah Winfrey, Dick Smith: Honorary Oscar, Jean Hersholt Award Recipients

James Earl JonesActor James Earl Jones and veteran makeup artist Dick Smith will receive Honorary Awards, and former television hostess Oprah Winfrey will receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced. The awards will be presented at the Academy’s 3rd Annual Governors Awards dinner on Saturday, November 12, at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center. The information below on Jones, Smith, and Winfrey is from the Academy’s press release:

Born in Arkabutla, Mississippi, James Earl Jones made his film debut in 1964 in Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. In 1970, he earned an Academy Award nomination for his role as boxer Jack Jefferson in The Great White Hope. Jones has appeared in more than 50 feature films including Claudine, Conan the Barbarian, Field of Dreams, Coming to America and, as Vice Admiral James Greer, The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. Additionally, Jones has also voiced some of the most iconic characters in motion pictures including Darth Vader in the Star Wars trilogy and Mustafa in The Lion King.

Known as the "godfather of makeup," Dick Smith began his career in 1945 as NBC’s first makeup man. He is known for his makeup artistry on such films as The Godfather, The Exorcist and Taxi Driver. In 1984 he won an Oscar for his work on Amadeus, and received a nomination for Dad (1989). As an educator, Smith helped train many of today’s Academy Award-winning and nominated makeup artists including Rick Baker, Greg Cannom, Kevin Haney, Kazuhiro Tsuji, Mike Elizalde and Carl Fullerton.

Since receiving her Oscar nomination for her debut film performance in The Color Purple, actress, television host and producer Oprah Winfrey has gone on to establish herself as one of the most influential figures in entertainment and philanthropy. She has been especially dedicated to supporting educational initiatives and raising awareness of issues that affect women and children, both in the United States and around the globe. Her philanthropic efforts have included Oprah’s Angel Network, the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, which opened in South Africa in 2007. 

The Honorary Award, aka Honorary Oscar, is given to an individual for "extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy." Named after actor and former Academy president Jean Hersholt, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, also an Oscar statuette, is given to "an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry."

The Governors Awards presentation will be produced for the Academy by writer-director Phil Alden Robinson with Charlie Haykel and Juliane Hare of Don Mischer Productions.

Photo: A.M.P.A.S.

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