On Saturday, the motion picture academy will honor this year’s four recipients of the Governors’ Awards during a gala ceremony that is sure to be attended by many of this year’s Oscar hopefuls. Action star Jackie Chan, film editor Anne V. Coates, casting director Lynn Stalmaster and documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman are all to receive honorary Oscars during this non-televised event that takes place in the Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland.
The selection of this quartet in late August was fairly straightforward. Any of the 51 members of the board of governors could put forward a name. Honorees had to receive support from at least half of those on the board. While the usual limit is three honorees, there have been four honorees every year but two (2011, 2015) since these awards began in 2009. For a fourth to be named this year, he or she needed to garner two-thirds of the votes.
There are 17 branches of the academy and all but three — Casting Directors, Public Relations and Visual Effects — were represented by at least one honorary Oscar winner among the 121 previous recipients. Casting directors only got their own branch in 2013, having been admitted as members-at-large for three decades prior. Until this year’s honorees, Film Editors had just one (Margaret Booth, 1977) while the Documentary branch had three (Pete Smith, 1953; William L. Hendricks, 1961; and D.A. Pennebaker, 2012). Compare that to Actors (47), Directors (22) and Producers (10).
Chan’s award pedigree is somewhat limited stateside, with three MTV Movie, two Kids’ Choice and one People’s Choice awards on a mantle crowded with trophies from various groups in Asia.
Coates won an Oscar on her first nomination, for cutting the epic “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962) and has contended four times since: “Becket” (1963), “The Elephant Man” (1980), “In the Line of Fire” (1993) and “Out of Sight” (1998).
Stalmaster, began working in casting in the mid-1950s, and worked on such classics as “Inherit the Wind,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “The Graduate,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Harold and Maude,” “Deliverance,” “Coming Home,” “Tootsie” and “The Right Stuff.”
Wiseman has never been nominated for an Oscar but won Emmys for two of his early documentaries: “Law and Order” (1969) and “Hospital” (1970).
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