Gena Rowlands, Spike Lee, Debbie Reynolds to Receive Governors Awards Oscars

Gena Rowlands Spike Lee Debbie Reynolds
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Spike Lee and Gena Rowlands will receive honorary Oscars and Debbie Reynolds will be given the Hersholt Humanitarian Award Nov. 14 at the seventh annual Governors Awards.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences voted the awards at their Aug. 25 meeting. Following tradition, AMPAS reps withheld the announcement until they could notify the recipients.

This is the second time the Academy opted for only three nominees. The org can salute up to four people each year, with the option of several honorary Oscars, and one apiece for the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and the Thalberg Award, which goes to a producer for their body of work. It’s generally been four honorees, except for 2011, when there were three.

Despite the Acad’s recent attempts to increase international membership, it’s an all-American lineup. And while Rowlands and Lee have worked for major studios, they made their name in the indie world. In reflecting the Academy’s diversity push, the trio consists of two women and one black filmmaker; and two of the three are primarily actors.

In 2009, the Academy broke out the Governors Awards into a separate, untelevised ceremony; the Oscarcast time constraints limited the number of honorees and the time devoted to each. So the separate ceremony was an experiment, but an immediate success. There was no pressure to select ratings-friendly individuals, and the board has often gone for people who are well-known in the industry but unfamiliar to the public.

The ceremony also proved a big success for the industry at large: By the second year, it became de rigueur for Oscar contenders to attend, and every awards strategist makes this a key date on the calendar.

Academy rules say the Governors Award cannot be voted posthumously, and no current governor is eligible. There is no rule about previous winners; last year, Hiyao Miyazaki received an honorary, even though he’d won competitively.

The recipients in the past six years:

2009: Lauren Bacall, John Calley, Roger Corman, 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.

2013: Angelina Jolie, Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin, Piero Tosi

2014: Harry Belafonte, Jean-Claude Carrière, Maureen O’Hara, Hayao Miyazaki

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  1. Tony L. says:

    I can’t help but agree with others that Doris Day deserves all the praise and glory that the Academy could offer but as she’s never going to be forgotten, probably in a thousand years, it’s not too much of a loss that she doesn’t get one of these awards. Nice to see Debbie Reynolds getting something anyway, and still pretty as a picture.

  2. Bill B. says:

    The Academy has done some questionable things over the years, but at this point in time, it is outrageous that the biggest female box office star of the 1950’s who also had hits in other decades as well in addition to being a prominent singer in her heyday is being snubbed yet again at such a very late stage in her life. For whatever reasons, Doris, the Academy just does not like you and that is a terrible shame, though my guess is, you don’t really care. Spike Lee?! I could count on one hand the number of good films he has made and would probably would not need any further fingers to count the number of commercial successes he has had. Even as good an actress as Rowlands was, her commercial career pales in comparison to Day, but she is a much more logical choice than Lee. Is this an attempt to make up for last year’s black out?! If so, it’s a feeble one as there are other directors much more worthy. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  3. Goodbyenoway says:

    Spike Lee is a ridiculous choice especially with Oscar less directors like James Ivory yet to be honored.

    Debbie Reynolds should be honored for her film career.

    Moreau, Deneuve passed over. Shame.

  4. TOM says:

    Guess Doris Day, who was nominated for Best Actress once & sang two Best Original Songs, isn’t on her deathbed yet…

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