Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Honorary Oscars

BLOGGER'S NOTE: I try to keep this updated with new recipients and with potential honorees who pass away.

By Edward Copeland
After the 2001 Oscars, I finally grew tired of the Academy honoring people with honorary Oscars or Irving G. Thalberg Awards who had already won competitive Oscars while so many remained unhonored. Between 1990 and 2001, they honored
1990: honorary Oscar for Sophia Loren (best actress, 1961, for Two Women
1994: Irving G. Thalberg Award for Clint Eastwood (two years after he won two Oscars for Unforgiven)
1996: Irving G. Thalberg Award for Saul Zaentz (best picture for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus and 1996's best picture, The English Patient.
1998: honorary Oscar for Elia Kazan (the issue wasn't the controversy for me, but the fact he'd already won for Gentleman's Agreement and On the Waterfront)
1999: Irving G. Thalberg Award for Warren Beatty (best director, 1981, Reds)
2001: honorary Oscar for Sidney Poitier (best actor 1963, Lilies of the Field)
honorary Oscar for Robert Redford (best director, 1980, Ordinary People)

With two previous winners honored in the same year, I thought enough was enough and wrote then-Academy President Frank Pierson with a list of suggested honorees (some provided by my friend Josh R.) My criteria: They had to be 65 or older and had never won an Oscar. So far, the Academy has been doing an excellent job since my letter. Granted, some of the names on the list have passed away and one actually has managed to win competitively. Here are the names I sent. The ones under STILL ALIVE are listed from oldest to youngest. Unfortunately, the misguided Academy, caving to Disney/ABC in their constant lust for ratings they'll never achieve again are now honoring people with special awards at a nontelevised November dinner as of 2009 since they could care less about film history. Those who receive non-televised honors are marked with an asterisk.

Maureen O’Hara
Glynis Johns
Doris Day
Jeanne Moreau
Joan Plowright
Max von Sydow
Gena Rowlands
Leslie Caron
Piper Laurie
Debbie Reynolds
Burt Reynolds
Albert Finney

Eddie Albert
June Allyson
Cyd Charisse
Jackie Cooper
Hume Cronyn
Tony Curtis
Jules Dassin
Charles Durning
Peter Falk
Geraldine Fitzgerald
Glenn Ford
John Frankenheimer
Julie Harris
Richard Harris
Betty Hutton
Van Johnson
Howard Keel
Ann Miller
Arthur Penn
Jean Simmons
Richard Widmark

Blake Edwards
Peter O’Toole
Sidney Lumet
Robert Altman
Ennio Morricone
Jerry Lewis (Jean Hersholt)
Lauren Bacall*
Jean-Luc Godard***
Eli Wallach*/**
James Earl Jones*
Angela Lansbury*

Morgan Freeman
Christopher Plummer

*Awards received at nontelevised Governors Awards dinner held in November once honorary awards were evicted from actual Oscar ceremony.

**Of course, I realize I forgot some possibilities (such as Eli Wallach) and others have passed 65 since (such as Liv Ullmann). Still, I'm happy that for the past several years, they've picked names from my list. Hopefully, the trend will continue.

***Godard decided not to come to the U.S. to accept the award at the nontelevised dinner, though he probably would have skipped the televised one as well.


A few more over 65 (I apologize if any are repeats)...


Alan Arkin
Carroll Baker
Brigitte Bardot
Jean-Paul Belmondo
James Caan
Tom Courtenay
Ben Gazzara
Ian Holm
Ian McKellan
Phillipe Noiret
Jane Russell
George Segal
Terence Stamp
Donald Sutherland
Eli Wallach
Jack Warden
Gene Wilder


Peter Bogdanovich
John Boorman
Brian De Palma
Phillip Kaufman
Richard Lester
Paul Mazurski
Bob Rafelson
Nicholas Roeg
Fred Schepisi
Ridley Scott
Agnes Varda
Makes me feel good that people like Martin Landau, James Coburn, and Alan Arkin got them later in life.

Terrence Stamp from Get Smart and Valkyrie had a distinguished acting career?
I must go over to imdb and check out his credits
In response to Josh R's comment from long ago, it's worth noting that Alan Arkin has since won competitively while we've lost Ben Gazzara, Jane Russell and Jack Warden. Eli Wallach did receive an honorary award at one of the nontelevised ceremonies.
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