David Lynch, Geena Davis, Lina Wertmuller and Wes Studi to Receive Honorary Oscar Awards
Directors David Lynch and Lina Wertmüller and actors Geena Davis and Wes Studi have been named recipients of this year’s Governors Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the Academy announced Monday.
Lynch, Wertmüller and Studi will receive honorary Oscars and Davis will receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at a ceremony at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland on October 27.
The Academy’s Board of Governors chose the recipients at a special meeting on Saturday, with the announcement delayed until AMPAS President John Bailey could reach all the recipients to tell them of the honor.
From the AMPAS press release announcing the honors:
“These Governors Awards given by the Academy each year recognize individuals who have devoted themselves to a lifetime of artistic accomplishment and brought outstanding contributions to our industry, and beyond,” said Academy President John Bailey. “It is with great pleasure that we announce this year’s recipients.”
Davis, who won an Oscar for her supporting performance in “The Accidental Tourist” (1988), has been a passionate advocate for gender equality in media. She is the founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, a nonprofit dedicated to educating and influencing film and television content creators to eliminate gender bias and stereotypes and create a wide variety of female characters in entertainment and media aimed at children. Davis was appointed Special Envoy for Women and Girls in Information and Communication Technologies for the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union in 2012, and served as chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women. In 2015, she launched the Bentonville Film Festival to support women and diversity in the entertainment industry. As an actor, she is recognized for portraying strong leading roles in such films as “Thelma & Louise” (1991), for which she earned an Oscar nomination, “The Fly” (1986), “Beetlejuice” (1988), “A League of Their Own” (1992) and “The Long Kiss Goodnight” (1996).
Born in Missoula, Montana, in 1946, Lynch is a filmmaker, musician and artist. He wrote, produced and directed his first full-length feature film, “Eraserhead,” in 1977. With editing, scoring and sound design also led by Lynch, the film continues to draw a large cult following. Its success brought Lynch the opportunity to direct “The Elephant Man” (1980), which received eight Oscar nominations including Directing and Adapted Screenplay for Lynch himself. His prolific career has included two more Directing nominations – for “Blue Velvet” (1986) and “Mulholland Drive” (2001) – and additional directing credits for “Dune” (1984), “Wild at Heart” (1990), “Lost Highway” (1997), “The Straight Story” (1999) and “Inland Empire” (2006).
Studi is a Cherokee-American actor who has appeared in more than 30 films, becoming known for portraying strong Native American characters with poignancy and authenticity. Born and raised in Nofire Hollow, Oklahoma, Studi became deeply involved with Native American politics and activism after a tour of military service in Vietnam. He began his acting career with the American Indian Theater Company and his first film role in the independent feature “Powwow Highway” (1989) led to a memorable appearance in “Dances with Wolves” (1990). He has since co-starred in such films as “The Last of the Mohicans” (1992), “Geronimo: An American Legend” (1993), “Heat” (1995), “The New World” (2005) and “Avatar” (2009).
In 1976, Wertmüller became the first woman to receive an Academy Award nomination for Directing when she received both Directing and Original Screenplay nominations for “Seven Beauties.” Known for focusing on political and social issues, Wertmüller has written and directed such notable films as “The Basilisks” (1963), “The Seduction of Mimi” (1972), “Love and Anarchy” (1973) and “Swept Away” (1974).
Typically the Board of Governors meets in early September to choose the Governors Award recipients, with the awards presented a couple of months later in mid-November. However this year’s selection was made three months earlier than usual with the ceremony also taking place a month ahead of time due to the accelerated awards season with the Oscars broadcast itself being moved up to February 9.