On Wednesday, veteran actor Eli Wallach died at the ripe old age of 98. Although he had never been nominated for an Oscar in his fifty-plus year film career, the academy bestowed an honorary one on him in 2010.
We are just a few weeks away from learning who will be receiving honorary Oscars this year. Who do you think is most overdue to be added to this honor roll? Vote in the poll below and add your thoughts to the lively debate in our forums here.
Since the academy shifted these honorary kudos from the telecast to a separate non-televised ceremony four years ago, they have feted 19 people.
In 2009, honorary Oscars went to actress Lauren Bacall, cinematographer Gordon Willis and producer Roger Corman while studio executive John Calley received the Thalberg Award.
In 2010, honorary Oscars were bestowed on Wallach as well as filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard and film historian Kevin Brownlow while Francis Ford Coppola was given the Thalberg.
In 2011, honorary Oscars were awarded to actor James Earl Jones and makeup pioneer Dick Smith while TV personaility Oprah Winfrey was given the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
In 2012, the academy snubbed on-screen talent entirely with honorary Oscars going to stuntman turned director Hal Needham, documentarian D.A. Pennebaker and director/producer George Stevens, Jr. while studio exec Jeffrey Katzenberg received the Hersholt.
And last year, honorary Oscars went to actors Steve Martin and Angela Lansbury as well as costume designer Piero Tosi while actress/director Angelina Jolie was feted with the Hersholt.
The selection process is fairly straightforward. Members of the board of governors put forth suggestions, with each of the top choices then voted on individually. Honorees must receive support from at least half of those on the board. The usual limit is three honorees. For a fourth person to be named, he or she needs to garner two-thirds of the votes.
Who do you think is most overdue for this honor? Cast your ballot in the poll below.