This past weekend, The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) held their annual Governors Ball to hand out Honorary Oscars to individuals in the arts who have done superb work. This year's group featured Jackie Chan, Frederick Wiseman, Anne V. Coates, and Lynn Stalmaster along with celebrities introducing them with monologues detailing each recipient's achievements. Thanks to the fine work over at The Academy's YouTube page, you can watch highlights from the ceremony right now, including each recipient's speech as well as the introduction by AMPAS President Cheryl Boone Isaacs.
Cheryl Boone Isaacs
As usual, the ceremony opened with the president giving some choice words about the state of the movie industry. In continuing with last year's speech and other recent plans, she discussed the need to continue diversifying in Hollywood. She also gave some choice words about each of the four recipients that highlighted few of their many achievements. It was a lovely start to an evening of gratitude and recognizing the arts in its many forms.
Among the recipients, the most anticipated speech had to have been Jackie Chan's. Having starred in over 100 films that have shown his charisma as a martial artist as well as a comedian, he came with the familiar gratitude that a prolific man like him should possess. Among his speech's highlights was telling a story about his dad as they watched the Oscars years before and wondering why Chan didn't have one. He was so enthusiastic that after finishing his speech, he quieted the house music to make one last note about how great his fans were.
Frederick Wiseman gave probably the most enjoyable speech of the evening by looking back on his career as a documentarian. His advice may seem underwhelming, but his desire to go in blind to his projects has serviced him well. His interest in humanity and the art of discovery all resonated throughout his speech. However, it was in his final anecdote that he got the biggest laugh. When discussing a project that involved him going to a home for dying people, he remembered one of them saying goodbye by saying "See you soon." It was a statement that he ended his own speech with, but with an added dose of humbleness.
Anne V. Coates
Like most artists in the technical fields, Anne V. Coates' least favorite part of winning an award was the speech. After cracking a joke to this extent, she launched into a speech detailing the joys of her career. She highlighted how she has managed to work with every director from David Lean to David Lynch; and has been fortunate to have a job where she gets to look into gorgeous actors' eyes. She also mentioned the extended Coates family who were in attendance, specifically her children, and how they all took careers in the film industry. Overall, she was humble and grateful for the award in ways that resonated through her candor.
Along with Jackie Chan representing a progressive step forward in recognizing Asian actors, Lynn Stalmaster's Honorary Oscars was a testament to casting directors. It is a job that gets taken for granted, but is key to having films look and act the way that they do. Stalmaster's speech highlighted his achievements in the field as well as his gratitude to various coworkers. While it may have not been the most lively, his win will hopefully mark a shift towards making casting directors more recognized in the Academy's future.