Thursday, August 27, 2015

Check Out This Year's Honorary Oscar Recipients

Left to right: Gena Rowlands, Spike Lee, and Debbie Reynolds
Along with the familiar competitive Oscar season, it is time once again to give out the Honorary Oscars. These are rewarded to artists who have given a noticeable career to the arts and have arguably made it better. Among last year's winners were Steve Martin and Angelina Jolie. This year hasa  trio of familiar and curious faces that are sure to leave at very least some interesting speeches - if they choose to show up. For now, the following is a list of the artists of whom will be receiving honorary awards in November.

Among the list of winners is probably the most puzzling of all: Spike Lee. Now, he has received two Oscar nominations in his career, but he also has been mired in controversy. 1989 famously was the year in which his film Do the Right Thing got snubbed for a Best Picture nomination for the tamer race relations drama Driving Miss Daisy (which won Best Picture). He has never had a Best Picture nominee to his credit, but he has had a stubborn relationship with The Academy since. This past January when Selma was ignored in major categories, he told director Ava Duvernay, verbatim, "Fuck them." It isn't entirely clear why Lee was selected or if he'll even show up. He is, as a result, the most interesting wild card of the bunch.

The following is a list of the recipients as well as the brief descriptions as shared by The Academy:

Lee in Do the Right Thing 
Spike Lee (Honorary Award): A champion of independent film and an inspiration to young filmmakers, made an auspicious debut with his NYU thesis film, Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads, which won a Student Academy Award in 1983.  He proceeded to blaze a distinctive trail with such features as She’s Gotta Have It, School Daze, and Do the Right Thing, which earned him a 1989 Oscar nomination for Original Screenplay.  His work as a director ranges from the Oscar-nominated documentary feature 4 Little Girls to such mainstream successes as Malcolm X and Inside Man.  Lee’s other feature credits include Mo’ Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Crooklyn, He Got Game, 25th Hour, Miracle at St. Anna, and Red Hook Summer.  He currently serves as the artistic director of the graduate film program at NYU.

Rowlands in A Women Under the Influence=
Gena Rowlands (Honorary Award): An original talent whose devotion to her craft has earned her worldwide recognition as an independent film icon, received Academy Award nominations for her lead performances in A Woman under the Influence (1974) and Gloria (1980), both directed by her husband and frequent collaborator, John Cassavetes.  She got her start on the New York stage and in live television in the 1950s and has appeared in 40 feature films to date, from The High Cost of Loving in 1958 to Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, which she starred in earlier this year. Her other notable films include Lonely Are the Brave, Faces, Minnie and Moskowitz, Opening Night, Another Woman, Unhook the Stars, Hope Floats, Playing by Heart, The Notebook, and Broken English.

Reynolds in Singin' in the Rain
Debbie Reynolds (Jean Hersholt Award): A Hollywood icon since she won hearts with her buoyant performance in Singin’ in the Rain, embarked on the role of a lifetime as a founding member of the Thalians, a charitable organization conceived and sustained by entertainers to promote awareness and treatment of mental health issues.  She served as the group’s president almost continuously from 1957 to 2011, adding numerous terms as board chair and frequently presiding over its annual fundraising gala.  Her tireless efforts have enabled the Thalians to contribute millions to the Mental Health Center at Cedars-Sinai and to UCLA’s Operation Mend, which helps military veterans recover from the physical and psychological wounds of war.  Reynolds has appeared in more than 40 feature films, including The Tender Trap, A Catered Affair, and Mother, and received a 1964 Oscar nomination for her lead performance in The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

For more details, please visit this page. The event will be held on November 14 at The Academy's 7th Annual Governors Awards, which will be held at the Ray Dolby Ballroom and Hollywood & Highland Center. Stay tuned to The Oscar Buzz for coverage of the events as they happen.

What do you think of these three nominees? Do they sound deserving of their awards? Better yet, is Spike Lee even going to show up (my money is on no)? 

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