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Academy Unveils 2014 Governors Awards Recipients

Harry Belafonte, Jean-Claude Carriere, Hayao Miyazaki, and Maureen O’Hara will receive Governors Awards at the Academy’s sixth annual ceremony, Nov. 8 at Hollywood & Highland.

Belafonte will receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award while Carriere, Miyazaki and O’Hara will each be given an Honorary Award.

“The Governors Awards allow us to reflect upon not the year in film, but the achievements of a lifetime,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs.  “We’re absolutely thrilled to honor these outstanding members of our global filmmaking community and look forward to celebrating with them in November.”

This year’s honorees fit the profile of past recipients: They are well-respected veterans and most have not won an Oscar in a competitive category.

The Governors Awards have become one of the industry’s hottest tickets and a key stop on the awards-campaign trail, with strategists making sure their candidates are in the room. Last year, there were multiple reps from each film in contention.

And while the schmoozing, hugging and handshaking dominate the pre-dinner hours, the industry crowd always settles down for the dinner and presentations, respectful of the evening’s focus. (That’s not true of every awards-season event.) Even with a fan fave like last year’s Angelina Jolie, who was cited for her philanthropic work, the Academy works hard to make sure that the red-carpet aspect doesn’t overwhelm the evening, and media credentials are kept to a minimum.

Last year’s Governor Awards featured a starry set of honorees: Jolie, Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin and Piero Tosi. However, that level of star power was atypical; the Academy board generally goes for people who are well-known in the industry but unfamiliar to the public. Since the event is not televised, widespread visibility is not a factor in the selection.

The past recipients:
2009: Lauren Bacall, John Calley, Roger Corman and Gordon Willis.
2010: Jean-Luc Godard, Kevin Brownlow, Francis Coppola, Eli Wallach.
2011: James Earl Jones, Dick Smith, Oprah Winfrey.
2012: Jeffrey Katzenberg, Hal Needham, D.A. Pennebaker, George Stevens Jr.

Smith and Jolie had previous won in a competitive category. He shared an Oscar (with Paul LeBlanc) for the makeup on the 1984 “Amadeus.” Jolie won as supporting actress for “Girl, Interrupted” (1999). Godard is French, Brownlow British; all the others are/were U.S.-based.

In a somber note, five of the 19 past honorees have died in the last 12 months: Bacall, Needham, Smith, Wallach and Willis. Calley died in 2011.

This year’s group were voted in Tuesday night at a meeting of the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

The Governors Awards were separated from the Oscar ceremonies in 2009, to bypass broadcast constraints that limited the number of honorees and the time devoted to them. When the decision was made to make this a separate event, there was some skepticism and, leading up to the first ceremony, nobody knew what to expect. But it was a big success and by the second year, there was a huge demand for the 550 tickets.

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