Oscar voters: Consider Doris Day, Debbie Reynolds for honorary Academy Awards

On Tuesday, the board of governors for the motion picture academy will meet to decide this year's recipients of honorary Oscars. Those chosen will be feted at the Governors' Awards, which take place on Nov. 14 in the Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland. The timing is such that many of this year's hottest Oscar prospects will attend to glad-hand voters.

The selection process is fairly straightforward. Any of the 51 governors can put forward a name. Honorees must receive support from at least half of those on the board. The usual limit is three honorees. For a fourth to be named, he or she needs to garner two-thirds of the votes; this has happened every year since these awards began in 2009 but for 2011 (see full list below). 

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We asked our readers for their top choice from a roster of 10 previous Oscar nominees (vote in this poll below). By a wide margin, they went with Doris Day. This screen legend topped the box office list for four years (1960, 1962 – 1964) and was a one-time Oscar nominee ("Pillow Talk," 1959). With all the work she has done over the years as an animal advocate, she is also a worthy choice for the Hersholt humanitarian award, which was given out for an unprecedented fourth year in a row in 2014.

In second place with our readers is Debbie Reynolds. As with Day, she contended for Best Actress once ("The Unsinkable Molly Brown," 1964) in a career that stretches back to the late 1940s. Still going strong at age 83, Reynolds has proven to be unsinkable herself. Since the early 1970s, she has worked tirelessly to preserve costumes and memorabilia from the golden age of studio moviemaking. Reynolds was feted by SAG with a lifetime achievement award in January. 

Since the academy shifted these honorary kudos from the telecast to a separate non-televised ceremony six years ago, they have celebrated 23 people: 

In 2009, honorary Oscars went to actress Lauren Bacall, cinematographer Gordon Willis and producer Roger Corman while studio executive John Calley received the Irving Thalberg Award;

In 2010, honorary Oscars were bestowed on actor Eli Wallach, 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;

In 2013, 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; and

Last year, actress Maureen O'Hara, animator Hayao Miyazaki and writer Jean-Claude Carrière got  honorary Oscars while actor/singer Harry Belafonte got the Hersholt.

Vote in our poll now, join the heated discussion in our Oscars forum and make your Emmy predictions as to whether this year's Oscars, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, will win Best Special Class Program by using our easy drag-and-drop menu at the right or bottom of this post. 

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19 thoughts on “Oscar voters: Consider Doris Day, Debbie Reynolds for honorary Academy Awards

  1. If the Academy decides again for a third year to honor a legendary female star,it be either Doris Day or Debbie Reynolds or even Leslie Caron or Cicely Tyson.Put if this year they try a legendary male star,it would be Max Von Sydow.

  2. Although there are several well deserving stars on this list, it is Doris Day who honestly deserves this Honorary Award more than anyone else. Her contribution to music, stage, screen, TV and her advocacy for animals puts her at the top. She is beautiful, talented and the epitome of class.

  3. My choice is surely Doris Day. I have been a fan of hers since I was in 2nd grade, and I’m 76. She has bee a wonderful performer. I also like Debbie Reynolds she’s a great performer also, and in her favor she has, with all her problems stayed working to entertain for many years, even with all the problems she has had. NANCY SUNGENIS

  4. No single performance by the talented Doris Day was ever Oscar worthy. Miss Day was more than adequate, I feel her nomination for Pillow Talk was enough recognition. I would award the special Oscar to either Nick Nolte, Gena Rowlands, Liv Ullman or Max von Sydow, all multiple nominees deserving to win the Oscar the years they were nominated.

  5. I vote for Doris Day. She did some great comedy that they seem to frown on at the academy. But lets not forget…..Man Who Knew Too Much, Midnight Lace, Julie, Young Man With a Horn and most of all Love Me or Leave Me. She could play drama just as well as comedy. Very talented lady.

  6. Doris Day has been the absolute epitome of an actress who can do it all and she did it very well. She should no longer be overlooked by the Academy! Her fans have repeatedly requested she be given this award and I hope this time they finally hear us. The lady has made an indelible mark that even today still resonates with young and old. It’s time she was recognized for the career and devotion she gave to all of us. Our lives have been blessed by her dynamic personality as well as her dedication to animal welfare. Let’s not pass her by again…..she is so very deserving to be honored and should not have to be present to receive this award!

  7. Doris Day is the Most Uplifting, Loving, Caring Lady. She has never gotten the credit she deserved ! Every movie she made , she gave it her All ! She always gave everything she did her all ! Why she has been over looked all these years is beyond me??? She deserves it this year ! This is Her Year ! ! VOTE Doris ! We Love You Doris ! !

  8. DORIS DAY- by a mile- she could do it all, sing, dance, heavy drama, light drama, comedy [which is the most difficult]. She deserves the acting Oscar and the Humanitarian one for her animal advocacy.

  9. DORIS DAY- by a mile- she could do it all, sing, dance, heavy drama, light drama, comedy [which is the most difficult]. She deserves the acting Oscar and the Humanitarian one for her animal advocacy.

  10. DORIS DAY- by a mile- she could do it all, sing, dance, heavy drama, light drama, comedy [which is the most difficult]. She deserves the acting Oscar and the Humanitarian one for her animal advocacy.

  11. DORIS DAY- by a mile- she could do it all, sing, dance, heavy drama, light drama, comedy [which is the most difficult]. She deserves the acting Oscar and the Humanitarian one for her animal advocacy.

  12. Is it possible that the Oscars would grant a posthumous honorary award for those who were overlooked by the Academy such as Robert Mitchum, Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, Joseph Cotten and Tony Curtis? I guess not, but it would be great if they did. The Grammys honored George Harrison recently

  13. I nominate Peter Bogdanovich & Brian De Palma for honorary Oscars. Then, they should give Mia Farrow the humanitarian award

  14. Doris Day should get the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award,if that happens then Cicely Tyson(the second African-American female)should receive a Honorary Oscar.

  15. How about considering actress Glynis Johns as well? She’s a versatile actress who appeared in many fine films such as Miranda, The Court Jester, Mary Poppins, While You Were Sleeping and The Sundowners which garnered her an Oscar nomination in the supporting category.

  16. DORIS DAY is worthy of an Honorary Oscar for sure. She is extremely talented, singing, dancing, acting, comedy…..she was a top box office star for several years. Please honor her in this way!!

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