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Honorary awards multiply

Orgs sprinkle lifetime achievement, notable effort kudos in with the main nods

You’ll hear it over and over as the Awards Season moves into its final phase of actually awarding the prizes: recipients will profess their feeling that it was an honor just to be nominated. But for a number of those who’ll accept awards at the various events, it really will be an honor, and they weren’t even nominated.

An often-overlooked but indispensable part of almost any kudo contest — televised or not — are the special honors recognizing lifetime achievement or particularly notable efforts, which are sprinkled in with the various competitive awards.

If they don’t come with the high-profile campaigns of the main awards, these kudos are no less an integral part of these affairs, for a variety of reasons. Most often, it’s a way for people in the same business to recognize notable efforts by their colleagues — after all, the Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, Tony and the various guild awards are all peer-to-peer affairs. Other times, it’s an attempt by organizations to give awards to those who might have been overlooked previously. And in many cases, particularly with televised award shows, it’s simply a way to guarantee the presence of star power in the proceedings.

Whatever the reason, the proliferation of Awards Season events has ramped up the number of honorary or life achievement honors, to the point where it’s hard to keep them straight. Perhaps this will help.

74th Academy Awards:

Oscar is the bigshot, and so fittingly gives out the most honorary awards. This year, it’s handing out a quintet of honors.

Robert Redford and Sidney Poitier will be awarded Honorary Oscars on March 24. Veteran director and past Academy president Arthur Hiller is being recognized with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

Edmund M. DiGiulio, a prime mover in development of the Steadicam, will receive the Gordon E. Sawyer Award, presented each year to an individual whose technological contributions have brought credit to the motion picture industry, at the Scientific and Technical awards dinner March 2 in L.A. That same night, special effects vet Ray Feeney will be awarded the John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation.

Here are the others, in chronological order, starting with a handful of honors that have already been passed out.

American Society of Cinematographers:

Laszlo Kovacs took the ASC’s Lifetime Achievement award and British cinematographer Douglas Slocombe received the Intl. Achievement Award at its Feb. 17 ceremony in Los Angeles.

At the same event, the ASC gave its Heritage Award, which goes to film students and recent graduates, to Diego Quemada-Diez and Armando Salas.

Hollywood Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists Guild:

Also on Feb. 17, the hair and makeup guild tapped Dustin Hoffman to receive the 2002 Barrymore Award for career achievement. Such Hoffman films as “Little Big Man” and “Midnight Cowboy” helped him earn the honor. Vivienne Walker and the late John Chambers were given the George Westmore lifetime achievement honor.

Art Directors Guild:

The guild gave its award for Contribution to Cinematic Imagery to helmer Frank Oz at its Feb. 23 ceremony in Beverly Hills. The award has been given in the past to such filmmakers as Clint Eastwood, Blake Edwards, Robert S. Wise and Norman Jewison.

American Cinema Editors:

Director/producer Barry Levinson will receive the ACE Golden Eddie filmmaker of the year kudos and the editors’ Feb. 24 awards in Beverly Hills. Despite the award’s name, it recognizes a body of work.

In addition, ACE will give its Lifetime Achievement Award to veteran editors Antony Gibbs and George D. Watters. Gibbs cut such films as “Dune” and “Fiddler on the Roof”; Watters worked mostly on TV westerns like “Bonanza,” but also edited “Enter the Dragon.”

Writers Guild Awards:

Blake Edwards, a writer and director with credits that include the “Pink Panther” films and “Victor/Victoria,” will be bestowed with the Screen Laurel Award from the Writers Guild of America West at its March 2 ceremonies in Beverly Hills and New York. Nine years ago, The WGA West and the Directors Guild of America jointly honored Edwards with the rarely given Preston Sturges Award.

On the television side, Glen and Les Charles, the brotherly writing teams whose credits include “Cheers” and “Taxi” and who have won eight Emmys for writing and producing sitcoms, will receive the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television from the WGAW.

Cesar Awards:

Actors Jeremy Irons, Anouk Aimee and Claude Rich are all receiving honorary Cesars, the French answer to the Oscars, at Paris’ Theatre de Chatelet March 2. Irons, a past Oscar winner, has never received a Cesar nom.

Producers Guild of America:

Robert Wise, producer-director of pics including “West Side Story” and “The Sound of Music,” and editor of “Citizen Kane,” will get the PGA’s Milestone Award at the guild’s March 3 ceremony in L.A.

The producers are also introducing a new kudo this year, the Stanley Kramer Award, to New Line’s “I Am Sam.” The award is aimed at honoring a producer whose work “illuminates provocative social issues in an accessible and elevating fashion.”

Directors Guild of America:

Oscar-winning helmer Delbert Mann, a past DGA president, can stop paying his guild dues; he’s getting the DGA’s Honorary Life Member Award at its March 9 ceremonies in L.A.

Publicists Awards:

Producer Jerry Weintraub will receive the Motion Picture Showmanship Award from Hollywood union publicists at their annual luncheon March 20 in Beverly Hills. Weintraub is fresh off the success of “Oceans 11.”

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