Kevin Brownlow (right), 72, is the most renowned silent film historian and preservationist. Among his various restoration projects are Abel Gance's epic Napoleon (1927), with Albert Dieudonné; Rex Ingram's blockbuster The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921), starring Rudolph Valentino and Alice Terry; and Raoul Walsh's fantasy The Thief of Bagdad (1924), starring Douglas Fairbanks.
Among the documentaries Brownlow co-directed with David Gill are Unknown Chaplin, Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow, Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius, D.W. Griffith: Father of Film, and the outstanding Hollywood. Brownlow also directed Cecil B. DeMille: American Epic and, with Christopher Bird, Garbo.
Additionally, Brownlow has authored numerous film books, including The Parade's Gone By; The War, the West, and the Wilderness; Hollywood: The Pioneers; Behind the Mask of Innocence; David Lean; and Mary Pickford Rediscovered.
Francis Ford Coppola, 71, began his film career in the early 1960s making low-budget films for 2009 Honorary Award recipient Roger Corman. By the end of the '70s he had won five Oscars: Best Picture (The Godfather Part II); Directing (The Godfather: Part II) and Writing (Patton, The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II). Two of his movies were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar in 1974: the aforementioned The Godfather: Part II and The Conversation.
Following Apocalypse Now (1979), Coppola's film career became a sort of rollercoaster ride, as he tackled both mainstream fare (Peggy Sue Gets Married, Bram Stoker's Dracula, The Rainmaker) and more unusual material (One from the Heart, Youth Without Youth, Tetro), in addition to the 3D short Captain EO, starring Michael Jackson. (Not sure if that should be considered “mainstream” or “unusual.”)
In 1969, Coppola established American Zoetrope. He has since produced or executive-produced more than 60 films, including The Black Stallion (1979); The Outsiders (1983); Lost in Translation (1993), directed by daughter Sofia Coppola; and The Good Shepherd (2006).
The Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, 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.”
The Thalberg Award, a bust of the well-respected MGM producer/executive who died in 1936, is given to “a creative producer whose body of work reflects a consistently high quality of motion picture production.”
The Governors Awards presentation will be produced for the Academy by former Academy president Sid Ganis, with Don Mischer Productions.
Photos: Kevin Brownlow (Todd Wawrychuk / © A.M.P.A.S.); Francis Ford Coppola (Courtesy of AMPAS).