Geena Davis Is Among Four to Receive Honorary Oscars
LOS ANGELES — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will continue to use its honorary Oscars to emphasize inclusion, announcing on Monday that statuettes would go to Geena Davis, the Italian writer-director Lina Wertmüller and the Cherokee-American actor and activist Wes Studi. They will be joined by the enigmatic filmmaker David Lynch at the academy’s Governors Awards.
The annual ceremony will be held Oct. 27, a month earlier than usual to avoid the expected late-in-the-year opening of the academy’s museum. John Bailey, the academy’s president, said in a statement that the recipients had “devoted themselves to a lifetime of artistic accomplishment and brought outstanding contributions to our industry and beyond.”
Davis, 63, an Oscar winner for her supporting role in the 1988 romantic drama “The Accidental Tourist” and a nominee for “Thelma and Louise” (1991), will receive the academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. That honor, last given in 2015 to Debbie Reynolds, will recognize the work Davis has done over the decades to fight gender bias on and off the screen in Hollywood, the academy said.
She founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media in 2004, setting the stage for the Time’s Up movement.
In selecting Wertmüller, 90, the academy cited her groundbreaking Oscar nomination in 1977. She was the first woman to receive recognition as a director. It was for “Seven Beauties,” a comedic war drama. She also received a nomination for writing the screenplay. Her other films include “Swept Away” (1974) and “The Seduction of Mimi” (1972).
Studi, 71, has never before been singled out for Oscar attention. He has appeared in more than 30 movies, starting with the independent film “Powwow Highway” (1989). Other credits include “Dances With Wolves” (1990) and “The Last of the Mohicans” (1992). Mr. Studi became involved in Native American activism after military service in Vietnam, the academy noted, describing his acting contribution as portraying Native American characters with “poignancy and authenticity.”
In contrast, Lynch, 73, has received four Oscar nominations: three as director — for “The Elephant Man” (1980), “Blue Velvet” (1986) and “Mulholland Drive” (2001) — and one for contributing to the “Elephant Man” screenplay. The academy made particular note of his first feature, “Eraserhead” (1977), which Lynch wrote, produced and directed. He also led the editing, scoring and sound design for that horror film, which has become a cult favorite.
The Governors Awards, which are not televised, take place over dinner in a Los Angeles ballroom. The attire is formal, but the atmosphere is not. Presenters routinely use salty language. Dinners go uneaten because attendees are busy hobnobbing — and vote-mongering: The event has become a prominent campaign stop in the annual Academy Awards race. The honorary statuettes are handed out at the end of the evening.