The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present multiple film luminaries with honorary Oscars this November: director Peter Weir, composer Diane Warren and filmmaker Euzhan Palcy. Actor Michael J. Fox will receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award (also an Oscar statuette). Academy President David Rubin said these Oscars would celebrate the recipients’ “indelible contributions to cinema and the world at large.” The awards will be conferred at the academy’s 13th Governors Awards on Nov. 19 in Los Angeles.
Fox, who starred in the hit sitcoms “Family Ties” and “Spin City,” appeared in such well-known films as “Doc Hollywood,” “The American President” and the iconic “Back to the Future” trilogy. His honors include five Emmys, two SAGs and a Grammy Award.
Fox was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease after showing symptoms during production on “Doc Hollywood” in 1991 when he was only 29. He established the Michael J. Fox Foundation, whose work has included the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative, an effort that includes 33 clinical sites in 11 countries and 1,400 participants, according to the foundation’s website.
The academy says the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award is given “to an individual in the motion picture arts and sciences whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”
In a statement, Rubin said, “Michael J. Fox’s tireless advocacy of research on Parkinson’s disease alongside his boundless optimism exemplifies the impact of one person in changing the future for millions.”
The academy describes the honorary award, being conferred upon Weir, Warren and Palcy, as honoring “extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.”
Highly regarded Australian director Weir’s works include the Oscar-nominated films “Witness,” “Green Card,” “Dead Poets Society,” “The Truman Show” and “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.” He emerged as a leading figure of the Australian New Wave movement in the ‘70s with “Picnic at Hanging Rock,” “The Last Wave,” “Gallipoli” and “The Year of Living Dangerously.” He has received six Oscar nominations personally.
Rubin’s statement said, “Peter Weir is a director of consummate skill and artistry whose work reminds us of the power of film to reveal the full range of human experience.”
Warren is one of the best-known composers of contemporary movie songs, having racked up 13 Oscar nominations (thus far without a win in the original song category) to go with her Grammy and Emmy awards, nine Billboard Hot 100 No. 1s and the feat of being the first person to log seven simultaneously charting songs, each with different artists. Among her Oscar-nominated works: “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” “How Do I Live,” “Because You Loved Me” and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.”
Rubin’s statement said of the composer, “Diane Warren’s music and lyrics have magnified the emotional impact of countless motion pictures and inspired generations of musical artists.”
Palcy is a Cesar-winning filmmaker originally of Martinique, French West Indies. She collected the Cesar for best first film for her debut, “Sugar Cane Alley” (1983). She has been honored several times at the Venice Film Festival, including winning the Silver Lion for “Sugar Cane Alley,” and received the Sojourner Truth Award at Cannes in 2001. To American audiences, she is best known for writing and directing “A Dry White Season,” starring Donald Sutherland, Susan Sarandon — and Marlon Brando. Brando reportedly worked on the film for scale, coming out of retirement to participate in the anti-Apartheid movie.
Rubin said, “Euzhan Palcy is a pioneering filmmaker whose groundbreaking significance in international cinema is cemented in film history.”