2022 Governors Awards profile: Six-time nominee Peter Weir to receive Honorary Oscar

Prior to 2018, all honorary Academy Award recipients had originated from North America, Europe, or Asia, but that changed when South American-born composer Lalo Schifrin joined the club. Now, the newest crop of special awardees includes a representative from a fifth continent: Australian Peter Weir. With a career spanning over half a century, the respected filmmaker is already a credit to his homeland when it comes to the Oscars, as he is the only one of his native countrymen to have earned multiple Best Director nominations and was the first of two (preceding George Miller) to pick up bids for directing, writing, and producing.

Along with Michael J. Fox, Euzhan Palcy, and Diane Warren, Weir is set to be recognized at the upcoming 13th annual Governors Awards. This tribute comes in honor of the 77-year-old’s status as “a director of consummate skill and artistry whose work reminds us of the power of film to reveal the full range of human experience.” With more than a dozen feature credits to his name, he has continually proven his remarkable versatility as a conveyor of finely crafted and deeply impactful stories.

Weir’s career starting point as a television production assistant in Sydney led to opportunities to create his own short films beginning in 1968. His earliest feature, “Homesdale,” won the 1971 Australian Film Institute prizes for Best Film and Best Director. He then found international success with the period drama “Picnic at Hanging Rock” (1975), which also helped legitimize his country’s new wave film movement.

Weir scored two more worldwide hits with “Gallipoli” (1981) and “The Year of Living Dangerously” (1982), the latter of which received an Oscar for Linda Hunt’s supporting performance. His first American film, “Witness” (1985) was nominated in eight Oscar categories, including Best Director, and won for its screenplay and editing. He was then recognized by the academy for directing “Dead Poets Society” (1989) and writing “Green Card” (1990).

Helming the modern satirical classic “The Truman Show” (1998) brought Weir his fourth Oscar nomination. He then earned Best Picture and Best Director notices for “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” (2003) before making his latest film, “The Way Back” (2010). Throughout his extensive career, he has achieved numerous honors, including three BAFTA wins, a special Critics’ Choice Award, and an appointment to the Order of Australia.

An honorary Oscar is given “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the academy.” At least one of these awards has been conferred during or prior to all but 10 of the 94 Oscars ceremonies. Since 2009, they have been presented at an individual ceremony that takes place several months before the same year’s Oscars. Weir and his fellow honorees will collect their trophies on November 19, 2022.

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