The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced recipients of the 2014 Honorary Oscars, to be presented at the annual Governors Awards ceremony in November. Writer and actor Jean-Claude Carrière (“The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”), Japanese animation titan Hayao Miyazaki (“My Neighbor Totoro,” “Spirited Away”) and actress Maureen O'Hara (“The Parent Trap,” “The Quiet Man”) will receive Honorary Awards, while, singer/songwriter, actor and social activist Harry Belafonte will receive the organization's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
Carrière, a frequent collaborator with Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel, has been nominated by the Academy as a screenwriter on three occasions. He won the Oscar for Best Live Action Short alongside comedian Pierre Étaix for 1963's “Happy Anniversary.” He has also collaborated with filmmakers such as Andrzej Wajda (“Danton”), Jean-Luc Godard (“Every Man for Himself”) and one of this year's Telluride tributees, Volker Schlöndorff (“The Tin Drum”).
Miyazaki, of course, inspired a generation with his innovative work under the Studio Ghibli animation banner in Japan. He did, however, win an Oscar for best AnimateD Feature in 2002 (“Spirited Away”), so one wonders if there might have been a choice in more immediate need of this kind of recognition, or whether the filmmaker's supposed retirement played into the decision at all. Nevertheless, few are going to argue with a lifetime achievement notice for the man behind that body of work.
Maureen O'Hara launched onto the Hollywood stage as a child prodigy. Though despite being a big screen mainstay in films like “The Black Swan,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” “How Green Was My Valley” and “Rio Grande” (she was a favorite of director John Ford, who cast her in five of his films), she never received an Oscar nomination.
And finally, Belafonte began his career as a singer performing in the nightclubs of Harlem before lighting out into the world of filmmaking. He was particularly drawn to projects like “Carmen Jones,” “Odds Against Tomorrow” and “The World, the Flesh and the Devil” that shed light on racism and inequality, making him a rather poignant choice for the Academy's humanitarian prize in light of current events. Belafonte was a supporter of the Civil Rights Movement, marching and organizing with Martin Luther King Jr. and often funding initiatives independently.
This year's Honorary Oscars will be presented at the 6th annual Governors Awards on Saturday, Nov. 8 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom in Hollywood.