Saturday, August 30, 2014

Meet the 2014 Honorary Oscar Recipients

Every year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents Honorary Oscars to members of the film community in recognition of their contributions to the medium. Though it would be ideal to just present these awards to people who have no previous nominations or wins, it doesn't always work out that way; in fact, two of this year's four recipients have multiple nominations and a win each to their names. The recipients will receive their awards at the Governors Awards on November 8.

Here are this year's honorees, three of which will receive Honorary Oscars and one who will receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

Maureen O'Hara

O'Hara was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1920 and arrived in Hollywood when she was still a teenager, with her first significant role coming in Alfred Hitchcock's 1939 adventure film Jamaica Inn. She made a splash that same year with The Hunchback of Notre Dame, in which she played Esmerelda opposite Charles Laughton's Quasimodo. From there she would have a lengthy career throughout the 1940s and 1950s, appearing in films ranging from Miracle on 34th Street (1947) to Sinbad the Sailor (1947), from A Woman's Secret (1949) to The Parent Trap (1961). She was also a favorite of director John Ford, who cast her in five of his films, including How Green Was My Valley (1941), Rio Grande (1950), and The Quiet Man (1952). Incredibly, despite her obvious talent, she was never nominated for an Oscar throughout her career. Her most recent screen credit is in The Last Dance (2000), a TV movie for CBS, as she retired earlier that year.

More after the jump

Hayao Miyazaki

Miyazaki is perhaps the best-known name in Japanese animation to the general American public. Born in 1941 in Tokyo, he first began working in animation in the 1960s, making his first feature film in 1979. Soon afterward, he founded Studio Ghibli, which quickly became a powerhouse on the global animation scene. Miyazaki found international acclaim through films such as My Neighbor Totoro (1988), KiKi's Delivery Service (1989), and Princess Mononoke (1997), all of which featured his trademark style of depicting magical realms with a mix of childlike wonder and adult emotions. Over the course of his career, he garnered three Oscar nominations, all of them in the Best Animated Feature Category: Spirited Away (2002), Howl's Moving Castle (2005), and The Wind Rises (2013), winning the Oscar for Spirited Away. Last year, he announced that he was retiring from filmmaking, a claim he has made before but seems more likely now with news of Studio Ghibli's uncertain future.

Jean-Claude Carriére

Carriére, born in 1931 in Colobiéres-sur-Orb, France, began his career as a novelist, publishing his first novel in 1954. He was then introduced to French comic filmmaker Jacques Tati, who commissioned Carriére to write short novels based on his films. From there, he began working on screenplays and directing his own films, including Heureux Anniversarie (1962), for which he and director Pierre Etaix won the Best Short Subject Oscar. Though he would work on screenplays with a number of great filmmakers, including Volker Schlöndorff (The Tin Drum, 1979), Philip Kaufman (The Unbearable Lightness of Being, 1988), and Jonathan Glazer (Birth, 2004), he is perhaps best-known for his collaborations with Luis Buñuel. It was a partnership that would last nineteen years, and included films such as Belle de Jour (1967), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), and That Obscure Object of Desire (1977); the latter two landed Carriére Oscar nominations (he was also nominated for The Unbearable Lightness of Being). He is still active today, with a new film due in 2015.

Harry Belafonte

Belafonte, born in Harlem in 1927, will be receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. Belafonte is a man who practically invented the multi-hyphenate. He began his career as a calypso singer, being so influential in the style's popularity during the 1950s (thanks to the success of "The Banana Boat Song") that he was dubbed "the King of Calypso." Over his recording career, however, he would branch out into a number of other styles. He made his first big acting splash in Carmen Jones (1954), a hit musical directed by Otto Preminger. Though he would make a few more onscreen appearances, Belafonte is perhaps known first and foremost as a civil rights activist. He was an early proponent of the Civil Rights Movement, eventually being one of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s closest confidants and helping fund the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in 1964. He was also a crucial voice in the anti-Aparteid movement in the 1980s, and has served as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 1987. Today, he's still active politically, critiquing policies of both the Bush and Obama administrations.

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