Francis Ford Coppola, Jean-Luc Godard, Eli Wallach and Kevin Brownlow were announced today as the recipients of this year’s Academy of Motion Picture Sciences’ Governors Awards.
Coppola, the director of such classics as “The Godfather,” “Apocalypse Now” and “Peggy Sue Got Married,” will receive the prestigious Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. Godard, Brownlow and Wallach will be given honorary Oscar statues during the ceremony which will be held on Saturday, Nov. 13 at the Grand Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood.
Also a prolific producer of films such as “The Conversation,” “American Graffiti,” and “Lost in Translation,” Coppola has won five Oscars including Best Picture (“The Godfather,” “The Godfather: Part II”), Best Director (“The Godfather: Part II”) and Best Original Screenplay (“Patton”).
Godard is a groundbreaking filmmaker who became a key contributor to the French New Wave moment. With over 70 features to his credit, he’s best known for “Breathless,” “Alphaville,” “Weekend” and “King Lear.” Up until now he’s never even been nominated by the Academy for his work.
The 94-year-old Wallach has also never been nominated for an Oscar despite acclaimed performances in films such as “Babydoll” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”
According to the Academy, Brownlow is widely regarded as the preeminent historian of the silent film era as well as a preservationist. Notable pictures he’s helped restore or preserve include Abel Gance”s 1927 epic “Napoleon,” Rex Ingram”s “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” and “The Thief of Bagdad” starring Douglas Fairbanks.
The Honorary Award 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 legendary motion picture executive, is given to “a creative producer whose body of work reflects a consistently high quality of motion picture production.”
All four honorees are deserving and it will be curious to see if Godard will appear to accept the award. He is publicly not a fan of film prizes and did not appear at the world premiere of his latest picture at the Cannes Film Festival. Perhaps some of the key filmmakers he influenced who are members of the Academy – Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese to name two — can convince him to show? At least he won’t have to worry about the event being televised (which is still ridiculous).
In other news…
– It’s tough to find distribution in the independent scene these days, but Alejandro González Iñárritu”s “Biutiful” starring Javier Bardem has been picked up by Roadside Attractions and Liddell Entertainment for U.S. distribution. The picture received mixed reviews overall, but there was illicit praise for Bardem’s performance. Also screening at the Toronto Film Festival, “Biutiful” will open in limited release this Dec.
– Another picture that has taken forever to find a release is Andrew Jarecki’s “All Good Things.” Originally produced and set for distribution by the Weinstein COmpany, Jarecki (“Capturing the Friedmans”) bought the picture back and now has a release set up with Magnolia Pictures. Starring Ryan Gosling, Kristen Dunst and Frank Langella, the ’80s period piece is inspired by the infamous missing person case of Kathie Durst. Durst’s husband, wealthy real estate scion Robert Durst, was suspected of killing her in 1982, but her body was never found. Magnolia will open the film in limited release this December.
– The Tribeca Film Festival announced the 10th Annual installment of the festival will be held April 20 – May 1, 2011. Wow. A decade of Tribeca. Time flies.