Jeffrey Katzenberg to Receive Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

Hal Needham, D.A. Pennebaker and George Stevens, Jr.
to Receive Academy’s Governors Awards

BEVERLY HILLS, CA –The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted tonight to present Honorary Awards to stunt performer Hal Needham, documentarian D. A. Pennebaker and arts advocate George Stevens, Jr., and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to philanthropist Jeffrey Katzenberg. All four awards will be presented at the Academy’s 4th Annual Governors Awards dinner on Saturday, December 1, at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center®.

Hal Needham is a legendary stunt performer and coordinator who has worked on more than 300 feature films including “The Spirit of St. Louis,” “How the West Was Won,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Little Big Man” and “Chinatown.” A pioneer in improving stunt technology and safety procedures, Needham also co-founded Stunts Unlimited, and is known for mentoring young stunt performers. In 1986, the Academy presented Needham with a Scientific and Engineering Award for the design and development of the Shotmaker Elite camera car and crane, which allows filmmakers greater versatility in shooting action sequences. Needham made his directorial debut with “Smokey and the Bandit.” He went on to direct such features as “Hooper” and the “Cannonball Run” films.

D. A. Pennebaker, a pioneer of modern nonfiction film, has directed more than 20 feature-length documentaries, including “Don’t Look Back,” “Monterey Pop,” “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” “Moon over Broadway,” “Kings of Pastry” and “The War Room,” for which he received an Oscar® nomination. During his career of more than six decades, Pennebaker has inspired generations of filmmakers with his “you are here” style. He is considered one of the founders of the cinéma vérité movement, beginning with his collaboration on the seminal 1960 film “Primary.”

George Stevens, Jr. has spent a lifetime celebrating and preserving the heritage of motion pictures. After several years at the United States Information Agency, where he championed the work of young documentary filmmakers and was Oscar-nominated for producing the documentary short subject “The Five Cities of June,” Stevens went on to become the founding director of the American Film Institute. Under his leadership, the AFI established the Center for Advanced Film Studies, created the AFI Life Achievement Award and embarked on a host of educational initiatives. In 1977, Stevens co-founded the Kennedy Center Honors, which he has produced for the past 34 years.

A studio executive, film producer and philanthropist, Jeffrey Katzenberg has been instrumental in raising money for education, art and health-related causes, particularly those benefiting the motion picture industry. During more than two decades as chairman of the board for the Motion Picture and Television Fund, he helped to raise $200 million for the organization, created “The Night Before” event and worked to expand the MPTF campus. He also serves on the boards of such organizations as the California Institute of the Arts, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, AIDS Project Los Angeles, the Geffen Playhouse, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Katzenberg currently serves as CEO of DreamWorks Animation.

The Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, 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 Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an Oscar statuette, is given to an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.

The Governors Awards presentation will be produced for the Academy by marketing executive Cheryl Boone Isaacs with the Don Mischer Production team led by Don Mischer, Charlie Haykel and Juliane Hare.

# # #

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the world’s preeminent movie-related organization, with a membership of more than 6,000 of the most accomplished men and women working in cinema. In addition to the annual Academy Awards–in which the members vote to select the nominees and winners–Academy presents a diverse year-round slate of public programs, exhibitions and events; provides financial support to a wide range of other movie-related organizations and endeavors; acts as a neutral advocate in the advancement of motion picture technology; and, through its Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Film Archive, collects, preserves, restores and provides access to movies and items related to their history. Through these and other activities the Academy serves students, historians, the entertainment industry and people everywhere who love movies.

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  • Amanda

    All men. Lovely.

  • Rebel

    I agree with that sentiment, Amanda.

  • somebody explain to me this years honorees?doris day,max von sydow or angela lansbury weren’t good enough for your ‘special’ awards!!!

  • what all you all saying?

    Cicely Tyson
    Gena Rowlands
    Catherine Deneuve
    Debbie Reynolds
    Angela Lansbury
    Piper Laurie
    Glenn Close
    Liv Ullmann
    Doris Day
    Judy Davis
    & Bette Midler are all more important than the director of Smokey and the Bandit?

    Have you even SEEN Smokey and the Bandit? WoW!

  • JamDenTel

    The director of “Cannonball Run” is getting a special Oscar.

    Really, can’t they just introduce a Best Stunt Work Oscar and be done with it?

  • Will

    Not a single female recipient, lovely. I guess 9 female honorees in 84 years is already too much and enough.

  • Amanda

    Thank God for the Best Actress and Supporting Actress categories or women would be completely ignored by the Academy.

  • keifer

    For God’s sake, give DORIS DAY or DEBBIE REYNOLDS an honorary Oscar!

    A stunt double in BLAZING SADDLES ? ? ?

    I am so depressed by this news.

  • Except for Pennebaker, a complete joke. Hal Needham must be one of the silliest recipients of an Oscar ever.

  • The more I think about these selections, the sicker I feel.

    D.A. Pennebaker is the only worthy recipient.

    I haif expect another announcement telling us nobody will be invited to the super-secret banquet unless he’s a man. Except for the lap-dancers.

  • keifer


    I feel sicker about these choices as well.

    What’s really aggravating to me is that there really are so many performers (as you’ve listed above) who deserve an honorary Oscar, and a lot of them are elderly (Doris Day and Debbie Reynolds), so what are they waiting for? Wheel them out in a hospital bed with tubes in their arms to accept their Oscar finally? Time marches on, and the Academy is so out-of-step right now. I do like the changes they made to the Best Song and Best Production Design rulings, but these newly announced recipients just leave me numb.

  • Kevin Klawitter

    I’m not going to claim to support all of these 100%, but they might have a point when talking about Needham’s work in improving stunt conditions and safety. I doubt most voters were thinking of “Stroker Ace” when they considered the tally.

    We don’t even really know HOW these things are decided, anyway.

    Part of me is wondering whether or not they decide the winners based on who is likely to show up to either of the ceremonies. How else could you explain the lack of even consideration for Christopher Lee (who doesn’t fly anymore due to health concerns)? Sure, he hasn’t exactly had a gamut of Oscar-level performances (though the lack of recognition for “Jinnah” and “Triage” is anything but his fault), but he IS the highest-grossing and most prolific actor alive.

    Katzenberg is actually fairly deserving, methinks, if we simply look at his charitable work, though I’m sure there are others who are equally so.

  • Part of me is wondering whether or not they decide the winners based on who is likely to show up to either of the ceremonies.

    Maybe. But they honored Jean-Luc Godard a couple of years ago, and must have know he wouldn’t attend.

    Or maybe Godard was the last straw. Or maybe Clint is already bringing an empty chair as his +1

  • You know, all 4 of these of these guy are no doubt deserving.

    And if there had been at least one female or one person of color, then no questions of diversity would’ve arisen. So by failing to make an effort to reach beyond the Old White Man demographic they set all the honorees up as targets for Wish-Lish replacements.

    After all, there’s nothing wrong with old white guys. The problem is when the entire evening is packed with old white guys wall-to-wall.

  • Mel

    I sprayed a bit of my Sun Drop when I saw Hal Needham. I will come clean though, if I were deciding these awards when I was 10, he would have definitely been my first choice simply for those blooper-filled credit rolls. Perhaps Burt Reynolds will wear his best wig and present this award to him.

  • Cyrus

    This list of individuals is very upsetting. Of course there is not one single woman among them, not even a single legend. Seriously, what about……

    Leslie Caron (2 nominations)
    Cicely Tyson (one of the few Black lead actress nominees)
    Angela Lansbury (3 nominations
    Doris Day (1 nomination)
    Gene Rowlands (2 nominations, robbed for Woman Under Influence)
    Debbie Reynolds (1 nomination)
    Jeanne Moreau
    Maureen O’Hara
    Catherine Deneuve (1 nomination)
    Eleanor Parker (3 nominations

    some other notable fellas

    James Ivory
    Alain Resnais
    Albert Finney
    Omar Sharif
    Max Von Sydow
    Louis Jourdan

    Hmmm, I say we all start a petition !! Who is up for it ?

    But you know the sad part is that they wouldn’t even broadcast the award winner on television. This used to be a part of the show I loved. How sad and disrespectful that for example Lauren Bacall just got to stand up for 2 seconds during the Oscar show when she received her honor, sadly it was in an untelecast ceremony.

  • keifer

    I agree about Lauren Bacall not really getting her “moment in the sun”.

    But with these 3 guys . . . at least we’ll be spared sentimental reminisences of bottles breaking over some extra’s skull in Blazing Saddles.

  • lazarus

    I could take any of those names people have mentioned here and listed a couple dumb movies they were associated with.

    Could you people be a bigger group of jackasses?

    I applaud the Board for recognizing the contribution stunt performers have made since, well, the early days of cinema. And it’s nice that they singled out someone who isn’t just a big name in the industry, but was instrumental in new technologies and safety procedures. God forbid we throw a bone to the blue collar crowd instead of trotting out some old actress who isn’t nearly as good as some fanboys want to believe. There was a time when honorary Oscars were going to supremely talented actors like Barbara Stanwyck or Cary Grant. I’m sorry but Debbie Reynolds, Doris Day and Leslie Caron, despite being in some landmark films, aren’t anywhere near that level. And then I’m seeing younger, far-from-legedary names like Judy Davis. Are you fucking kidding me?

    And I’m not sure why people get so upset about the lack of foreign language actors. These are for all practical purposes Hollywood awards for that extended community for better or worse, and crying about Liv Ullman or Jeanne Moreau seems a little pointless. Having said that, a guy like Max Von Sydow who has appeared in many noteworthy Hollywood productions, should get his moment in the sun.

  • crying about Liv Ullman or Jeanne Moreau seems a little pointless. Having said that, a guy like Max Von Sydow who has appeared in many noteworthy Hollywood productions, should get his moment in the sun.

    In short: to hell with international actresses — this is Hollywood dammit! — except Max Von Sydow fits right in because he’s another old white man. So he’s cool.

  • lazarus

    Ryan, you should know better than to misrepresent my comment so you can beat Awards Daily’s Women In Film dead horse one more time.

    Von Sydow isn’t the exception because he’s old and white, but because he’s worked in so many prominent Hollywood films for over four decades.

    Nice try, though.

  • Von Sydow isn’t the exception because he’s old and white, but because he’s worked in so many prominent Hollywood films for over four decades.

    Look, just because you obviously know more about Max and care more about Max doesn’t mean Max holds any more important place in film history than those women.

    All three of their careers are extraordinary.

    “…making movies for 4 decades? “

    Max von Sydow and Jean Moreau have been making movies for 6 decades.

    “…so many prominent Hollywood films “

    I only know of 4 that mean anything.

    So I’m not twisting your comment. I’m just responding to it.

    The only thing different in the cinematic prestige of legends on the level of Moreau and von Sydow is their gender. And you choose the guy.

  • Duck Soup


    Why isn’t D.A.’s wife and co-collaborator/director, Chris, getting it too? That’s like giving an award to Joel Coen, but not Ethan.

  • ^
    such an excellent point.

  • lazarus

    Ryan, let me try and be a little clearer this time:

    My point was that Von Sydow has been making HOLLYWOOD films for over four decades (maybe you’ll see the adjective if I put it in all caps). Not films in general. Big budget studio stuff since 1965 with The Greatest Story Ever Told followed by Hawaii the next year. Then some other films you may have heard of, like THE EXORCIST, THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR, HANNAH AND HER SISTERS, AWAKENINGS, MINORITY REPORT. Those are all films directed by big Hollywood directors (three of them BP nominees).

    Moreau and Deneuve? Not a lot of Hollywood or English-language films on their resumes, whatever their accomplishments overseas. Hollywood tends to celebrate their own, and Sydow is very much a member of that community, as illustrated by that nomination this year. This isn’t about whose career is more impressive, but who’s more a member of “the club”.

    And thanks for ignoring all my other points. I’d love to hear you explain how Judy Davis at 57 is some overdue legend shamefully overlooked for an honorary Oscar. Or Piper Laurie. Or Bette Midler.

  • Will

    FYI, lazarus: Jeanne Moreau has made over 16 English-speaking films that includes such titles like Orson Welles’s The Trial and Falstaff, The Victors, The Yellow Rolls-Royce, The Sailor from Gibraltar, John Frankenheimer‘s The Train and western Monte Walsh (can get more American than that). She’s the greatest and is more than deserving.

  • Jon

    I was campaigning at least 2 years before they finally gave Sidney Lumet his well deserved Honorary Oscar. Now while that wasn’t exactly a surprise, I have an actor who is still with us (though I don’t know what his current health condition is) who I would love to see the Oscars give an Honorary Oscar too… Charles Durning.

    A great character actor – lemme rephrase that – a great actor in general who gave some great performances in some classic films. Would love to see him get his long deserved honor.

  • keifer

    Charles Durning – definitely a contender for an honorary award!

    Thanks for mentioning him, Jon.

    Durning’s resume is amazing (includes Dog Day Afternoon, The Sting, Tootsie, The Hudsucker Proxy, The Hindenburg).

    I also think John Hurt (another deserving actor) should be considered as an honorary recipient. His contribution to cinema is staggering.

    And I still stand by my comments about Doris Day and Debbie Reynolds. Sorry, Lazarus, but both of these women are definitely on a level with Cary Grant and Barbara Stanwyck. Perhaps you don’t appreciate the genius of comedy? I forget who said it, but there’s a saying, “Dying is easy, comedy is hard” which I think the Academy needs to pay attention to when bestowing these honorary awards.

  • keifer

    One more thing: Debbie Reynolds was in SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN for God’s sake. And she was wonderful in “A Catered Affair”, “How the West Was Won”, “The Rat Race”, and “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”. She is a staple of Hollywood. You can’t get much more Hollywood than Debbie Reynolds.

    She has also been an invaluable proponent of preserving Hollywood history (i.e., her passion for preserving iconic costume designs which would have ended up in a dumpster had it not been for her diligence and foresight in keeping cinematic history alive).

  • Mel

    ^^That is true. I visited her short-lived Hotel and Museum in Las Vegas back in 99 and saw her collection. It was amazing and she saved it all single-handedly from a time when they just junked this stuff but she knew its value! She recently sold most of her collection at auction which made me fear her health or something might be in decline. I hope it is not.

  • Mel

    I take that back on the year….I think it was NYE 1995 going into 1996. We sat next to Rip Taylor in the bar.

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