Honorary Oscars presented to stuntman, filmmakers, philanthropistWritten by James A. Molnar | The Gold Knight | firstname.lastname@example.org
Hollywood stuntman Hal Needham has cracked ribs, punctured his lung and broken his back while making more than 300 movies. And now he has an Oscar.
He was one of four men honored during the Dec. 1 Governors Awards, also known as the Honorary Oscars.
Needham becomes only the second stuntman to receive an Academy Award. Yakima Canutt, who received an Honorary Award in 1966, was the first.
“You’re looking at the luckiest man alive,” Needham, 81, said in his acceptance speech, “and lucky to be alive.”
“My mom is looking down on tonight with a big smile on her face,” he said, wiping tears from his eyes.
“I want to thank the whole Hollywood community for allowing me to be part of it,” he said in closing.
Each year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences takes time to honor those who may not have been recognized before.
The Governors Awards, voted on by the Academy’s Board of Governors in September, recognized Needham along with documentarian D.A. Pennebaker and filmmaker-arts advocate George Stevens Jr. with Honorary Awards. DreamWorks Animation chief and philanthropist Jeffrey Katzenberg received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. Each received Oscar statuettes.
After dinner, held in the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, special guests made tributes to honorees and clips were played of their work.
Sen. Al Franken and fellow documentarian Michael Moore introduced Pennebaker.
“The key point about documentaries is that truth is sometimes truer than fiction,” Franken said.
Moore later credited Pennebaker with inventing the modern documentary.
“I doubt that there are many still alive whom we could call a pioneer or an inventor of a genre of filmmaking,” he said of 87-year-old Pennebaker. “We have one in our presence tonight.”
Pennebaker accepted his award and thanked his wife and his fellow filmmakers for the honor.
Annette Bening and Sidney Poitier then fêted George Stevens Jr.
Stevens, 80, spoke about his family and growing up in the film industry, which he said is in his blood as a fourth generation filmmaker.
The founding director of the American Film Institute (AFI), Stevens also co-created the Kennedy Center Honors.
Needham followed, receiving tributes by Quentin Tarantino and Al Ruddy, the Oscar-winning producer of “The Godfather.”
The final award of the night was given to Katzenberg. Tom Hanks and Will Smith introduced him, noting his persistent philanthropy.
“Jeffrey has no problem asking for way too much money,” Smith said.
Katzenberg, 61, then accepted the humanitarian award, which Oprah Winfrey received in 2011.
“My first mentors — my parents — gave me life and a deep appreciation of what it is to give to others,” he said, accepting the award.
To view videos and photos from the Governors Awards, visit Oscars.org.
Take a look at a 360° image taken from inside Saturday’s Governors Awards:
Find more 360 degree photos of the Governors Awards here.
The 85th Academy Awards are Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, airing locally on 13abc.
Toledo Free Press Lead Designer and Film Editor James A. Molnar blogs about all things Oscar at TheGoldKnight.com. Watch him discuss movies on “WNWO Today” around 5:50 a.m. on Fridays. Also, listen to James discuss movies on “Eye on Your Weekend” on 1370 WSPD every Friday at 6 p.m.
Tags: Academy Awards, AMPAS, board of governors, D. A. Pennebaker, Film, George Stevens Jr., Governors Awards, Hal Needham, honorary oscars, James A. Molnar, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Movies, Oscars, The Gold Knight