Oscars: Some Modest Proposals for the Governors Awards

August 25 will be a big night for Academy board members: That’s when they select 2015 recipients of the Governors Awards.

According to the website, AMPAS encourages members of the Academy to weigh in. They didn’t say anything about non-members, but why not? Movie fans have strong ideas too.

So here are some proposals: Michael Apted, whose range includes the “Seven Up!” docus to “Coal Miner’s Daughter”; Tsui Hark, a key figure in Asia’s action films; Richard Lester, the influential director; documaker extraordinaire Frederick Wiseman; and actress-director Jeanne Moreau. Incredibly, none has ever been nominated for an Oscar. And how about activist Rob Reiner for the Hersholt?

Variety exec editor Steven Gaydos also offers some stellar names for consideration: Gilles Jacob, who led the Cannes Fest for decades; producer-casting pro Fred Roos, whose groundbreaking credits include “The Godfather” and “American Graffiti”; Brit filmmaker Ken Loach; American actress Gena Rowlands; Brit thesp Albert Finney; James Bond film producers Barbara Broccoli & Michael Wilson; Robert Redford; oft-Oscar-nommed cinematographer Roger Deakins; and French “New Wave” film pioneer Jacques Rivette.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences can honor up to four people, including the 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. In five of the past six years, they have had four; once it was three recipients.

According to the Academy, the Governors Awards cannot be voted posthumously, and no current Academy governor is eligible to receive an award. The Acad doesn’t say anything about previous winners, and in in fact has voted a Governors Award to recipients of earlier awards, such as last year’s Hiyao Miyazaki.

Roos’ name raises another question, since he began as a casting director. What about honoring a casting director, such as Lynn Stalmaster, Ellen Chenoweth or Ellen Lewis?

The Acad will announce the honorees as soon as possible after the vote — which could be the following day, or several days later. They first have to notify the honorees, and in some cases that has taken a while.

The awards will be handed out Nov. 14, marking the seventh time the ceremony is held as a separate event. It’s been a success — there’s more time for honorees without worrying about broadcast TV time constraints. It’s hard to summarize a long career in two minutes. And the non-televised event means the governors don’t have to worry about which potential honorees are ratings-friendly. The board generally goes for people who are well-known in the industry but unfamiliar to the public.

The past six year’s recipients were:

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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