By Oliver Gettell Los Angeles Times
The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Thursday that it would present Harry Belafonte with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and give honorary Oscars to Jean-Claude Carriere, Hayao Miyazaki and Maureen O’Hara.
Once part of the annual Oscars telecast, the Governors Awards are now a separate event that has become a popular stop on the awards season campaign trail.
An actor, producer, singer and lifelong activist, Belafonte began performing in theaters and nightclubs in and around Harlem, where he was born. Throughout his career, he shed light on racism and inequality with films such as “Carmen Jones,” “Odds Against Tomorrow” and “The World, the Flesh and the Devil.” He was an early supporter of the civil rights movement who marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr., became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1987 and currently serves on the boards of the Advancement Project and the Institute for Policy Studies.
Carriere began his career as a novelist and was introduced to screenwriting by French comedian and filmmaker Pierre Etaix. The two won an Oscar for the live-action short “Heureux Anniversaire (Happy Anniversary)” in 1962, and Carriere received two more nominations during his nearly two-decade collaboration with Luis Bunuel, for “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” and “That Obscure Object of Desire.” He earned a fourth Oscar nomination for “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” directed by Philip Kaufman.
Miyazaki is an artist, writer, director, producer and co-founder of the acclaimed Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli. He is a three-time Oscar nominee in the animated-feature category, winning in 2002, for “Spirited Away.”
O’Hara, a native of Dublin, Ireland, came to Hollywood in 1939 to star in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” opposite Charles Laughton. She went on to appear in a range of films including “Sinbad the Sailor,” “This Land Is Mine,” “A Woman’s Secret,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” “The Parent Trap,” “Our Man in Havana” and “How Green Was My Valley.”
The four awards are to be handed out at the academy’s Governors Awards dinner Nov. 8 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at the Hollywood &Highland Center.
“The Governors Awards allow us to reflect upon not the year in film, but the achievements of a lifetime,” academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement. “We’re absolutely thrilled to honor these outstanding members of our global filmmaking community and look forward to celebrating with them in November.”
Last year the academy honored Angelina Jolie, Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin and veteran costume designer Piero Tosi.