The board of governors of Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has selected the DreamWorks Animation topper for its highest honorary award, in recognition of his many humanitarian efforts, including his stewardship of fundraising for the Motion Picture and Television Fund. He’s led the charge in generating $200 million in donations to the MPTF in his role as MPTF board chairman over the past two decades.
Stunt performer and helmer Hal Needham, documentarian D. A. Pennebaker and arts advocate George Stevens Jr. have also been tabbed for honorary awards, which will be presented at the Academy’s fourth-annual Governors Awards dinner Dec. 1 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood and Highland.
Needham’s credits number more than 300 films, including “The Spirit of St. Louis,” “How the West Was Won,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Little Big Man” and “Chinatown.” He earned a Scientific and Engineering Award for the design and development of the Shotmaker Elite camera car and crane and directed features including “Hooper” and the “Cannonball Run” films.
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Pennebaker is one of the founders of the cinema verite movement, beginning with his collaboration on the seminal 1960 film “Primary.” He has directed more than 20 feature docs, including “Don’t Look Back,” “Monterey Pop,” “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars” and the Oscar-nommed “The War Room.”
Stevens was the founding director of the American Film Institute and in 1977 co-founded the Kennedy Center Honors, which he has produced for the past 34 years.