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Jean-Luc Godard: Oscar Honoree Missing in Action? + Eli Wallach & Francis Ford Coppola

Eli WallachJean-Luc Godard, 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.

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

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, Nov. 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 SturgesThe 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 BrownlowKevin 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 SallesOn 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).

Jean-Luc Godard Honorary Oscar: Filmmaker Missing in Action?

Oct. 25 update: Shocking news. Jean-Luc Godard has “regretfully” notified Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Tom Sherak that he will not pick up his Honorary Award in person at the Governors Awards on Nov. 13.

The notification followed “a two-month-long cordial exchange of correspondence” between Godard and Sherak.

According to Sherak, Godard “reiterated his thanks for the award, 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 Nov. 13 dinner ceremony, which is being produced by former Academy president Sid Ganis and Don Mischer, will pay tribute to Godard through film clips and commentary by his “admirers.”

None of Godard’s movies ever received a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nomination. In the last five decades, Godard himself has been totally ignored by the Academy.

Well, until now.

Godard’s Honorary Oscar will be accepted on his behalf by the Academy, which will later send the statuette to the filmmaker in Switzerland.

Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images.

Previous post (Sep. 7)

Jean-Luc Godard has “graciously thanked” the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences by way of a “cordial, hand-written note” sent to Academy president Tom Sherak last week.

A couple of weeks ago, the Academy’s Board of Governors had voted Godard an Honorary Oscar, along with film historian/preservationist Kevin Brownlow and actor Eli Wallach. Producer/director Francis Ford Coppola will be given the Irving G. Thalberg Award.

In his note, Godard called himself “the fourth musketeer” – Wallach, Brownlow, and Coppola being the other three, of course – and “indicated that, schedule permitting, he would come to Los Angeles for the November 13 Governors Awards event.”

The Academy shouldn’t count on it, though stranger things have happened.

Photo: Getty Images Entertainment.

Previous post (Aug. 26)

Jean-Luc Godard Missing

Jean-Luc Godard, who’ll turn 80 next December, is “missing,” announces Juli Weiner in a clever Vanity Fair piece.

“So missing, in fact,” explains Weiner, “that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been unable to inform Godard that he is the recipient of an Honorary Academy Award.”

That’s serious.

“We’ve been attempting to reach him since 7 o’clock Tuesday evening and we have as yet had no confirmation,” AMPAS executive director Bruce Davis told The Hollywood Reporter.

In other words, no one knows whether or not Godard will show up to pick up his Oscar statuette at the Nov. 13 Governors Awards ceremony to be held in Hollywood.

Being realistic here, the Academy probably shouldn’t count on his presence.

As mentioned elsewhere in this post, the New Wave filmmaker was a no-show at the 2007 European Film Awards ceremony, in which he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Also, last May he was absent from the premiere of his latest effort, Film Socialisme, at the Cannes Film Festival – for “no official reason, just that he’s not here,” according to a Cannes spokesperson.

Even if Godard is found – has anyone bothered to ask Jean-Paul Belmondo about his Breathless director’s whereabouts? – and agrees to hobnob with Hollywoodites and sit through an all but inevitable hymn of praise by Quentin Tarantino at the Governors Awards, that doesn’t mean he will be there when the time comes.

Godard had been expected to attend the European Film Awards ceremony, but eager expectations turned out to be just that.

And at the time of the Cannes film smorgasbord, the director declared: “I’d walk to the ends of the earth for the [Cannes] festival. But alas I will not be taking a single step further.”

Note the “Made in U.S.A.” notice on the poster. That’s the title of a 1966 Godard movie starring then-wife Anna Karina.

Previous post

Jean-Luc Godard, the acclaimed New Wave filmmaker and one of the three just-named recipients of the 2011 Honorary Academy Awards, was supposed to have showed up in person to receive the 2007 European Film Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award. At the last minute, however, Godard opted to stay home.

“I say at the same time ‘thank you’ and ‘no, thank you,’” Godard remarked during an interview on the eve of the European Film Awards ceremony. “When someone says I have created a life’s work, I have to accept this. But it is my way of criticism not to go there. I don’t have the impression that I have made a career. In French, the word also means ‘quarry’ and in this sense I can accept it.”

Will Godard show up at the Governors Awards dinner to accept his ‘quarry’ Oscar? Who knows?

The Academy’s Governors Awards dinner will be held on Nov. 13 at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center. Godard’s fellow Honorary Award recipients are actor Eli Wallach and silent film historian/preservationist Kevin Brownlow. Also at the ceremony, filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola will be handed the Irving G. Thalberg Award.

Quote: CBC News

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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.

aba -

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

Matias Bombal -

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


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