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Jean-Luc Godard, Eli Wallach Honorary Oscar Recipients

Jean-Luc Godard

Eli Wallach

Jean-Luc Godard (above), Eli Wallach (right), Kevin Brownlow, and Francis Ford Coppola have been chosen as the recipients of the 2010 special Academy Awards. Godard, Brownlow, and Wallach will receive Honorary Awards; Coppola will be handed the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award.

No Jean Hersholt Award (for “good deeds”) will be given out this year.

The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences reached their decision last night. All four awards will be presented at the Academy's 2nd Annual Governors Awards dinner on Saturday, November 13, at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center.

Last year's honorees were actress Lauren Bacall, cinematographer Gordon Willis, producer/director Roger Corman, and Thalberg Award recipient John Calley.

One of the French New Wave founders and most influential auteurs anywhere in the world, in addition to being well-known for both his idiosyncrasies and left-wing views, Jean-Luc Godard, who'll turn 80 next December, has directed and/or written more than 70 features, most notably Breathless (1960), Contempt (1963), Alphaville (1965), Weekend (1967), and the highly controversial Je vous salue, Marie / Hail, Mary (1985).

Throughout this 50-year career, Godard has directed the likes of Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Anna Karina, Eddie Constantine, Marianne Faithfull, Isabelle Huppert, Mireille Darc, Jane Fonda, Nathalie Baye, Jack Palance, Yves Montand, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Fritz Lang (in Contempt), and many others.

Godard's latest effort, Socialism, was screened at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Wallach's film debut took place in Elia Kazan's Baby Doll (1956), starring Carroll Baker and Karl Malden. Since then he has been featured in more than 150 movies and television shows.

On the big screen, Wallach could be spotted in, among dozens of others, John Sturges' The Magnificent Seven (1960), with Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen; John Huston's The Misfits (1961), with Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, and Montgomery Clift; Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), with Clint Eastwood; Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather, Part III (1990), starring Al Pacino and Diane Keaton; and, earlier this year, Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer (2010), with Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, and Kim Cattrall.

Wallach, who'll turn 95 next December, will next be seen in Oliver Stone's Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010), with Michael Douglas, Susan Sarandon, and Shia LaBeouf.

Photos: Eli Wallach (Courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library); Jean-Luc Godard (Courtesy of Getty Images Entertainment).

Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola

Kevin Brownlow

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.

Well, Brownlow should feel right at home at Hollywood & Highland, where the inner courtyard was built so as to resemble D.W. Griffith's 1916 epic (and monumental box office flop) Intolerance.

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).

Coppola is one of the executive producers of Walter Salles' On the Road, currently in production, and starring Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, Kirsten Dunst, and Viggo Mortensen.

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).

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3 Comments to Jean-Luc Godard, Eli Wallach Honorary Oscar Recipients

  1. Rick Sisson

    I feel the Honorary Oscar Award Winner
    should be 'live' on the night of the awards,
    just as you did for Deborah Kerr et al.

    Thank you.

  2. aba

    I think it's about time to give Producer Robert Evans The Thalberg Awards, can't think of anyone more deserving.

  3. Matias Bombal

    At last, an Oscar for Brownlow! Hooray! He deserves it. OK AMPAS, how about one for Richard P. May?