Friday, April 19, 2024

Honorary Oscars Going to David Lynch, Lina Wertmuller, Wes Studi, Geena Davis, Academy Makes Safe Choices, Ignores Long Line of Waiting Veterans


Well, the Academy governors have chosen their Lifetime Achievement recipients for this year, or next year, however you look at it.

They include two directors, David Lynch and Lina Wertmuller, who have unarguably changed cinema and have been huge influences. You can’t argue with those choices. If you just counted “Blue Velvet” and “Seven Beauties,” respectively, they deserve it.

They chose Geena Davis, who has an Oscar and hasn’t worked so much in years, for the Humanitarian Award. I’m sure that’s lovely but really, if that’s what they were looking for, Sean Penn has been on the ground in Haiti for years. Why not him? But welcome to 2019: Geena Davis, according to the press release, is the founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which I’ve never heard of. So there’s that. (And PS, the Institute has no 501 c3, it’s listed as a project of Mount St. Mary’s University with no public records or transparency.)

Frankly, with “Rocketman” out, and Elton John having scored a number of movies, the rock star could have gotten the award for his Elton John AIDS Foundation. Now, that would have been a smart choice.

The other choice is Native American actor Wes Studi, whose career began in 1988. He has no Oscars and has never been nominated for one, but he’s been a leader for Native Americans in movies. He’s been a role model and a trail blazer. That’s all great, but I would have gone with Graham Greene, whose career is longer, has an Oscar nomination, and a more comprehensive CV.

The governors passed over Robert Evans, a Hollywood fixture, who I guess many thought would get the honor this year. Another disappointment was Catherine Deneuve, the great French actress who absolutely deserves the award. This group of honorees doesn’t include an African American. I guess Studi is supposed to cover all minorities.

The Governors Awards will be given October 27th in Hollywood, a month or more earlier than usual because of the early Oscars date next year, February 9th.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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