The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has announced the recipients of this year’s Governor’s Awards. Honorary Oscars for lifetime achievement will go to actress Gena Rowlands and filmmaker Spike Lee, with actress Debbie Reynolds set to receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.The announcement was made by Academy President Cheryl Boone Issacs. According to Issacs:
The Board is proud to recognize our honorees’ remarkable contributions at this year’s Governors Awards. We’ll be celebrating their achievements with the knowledge that the work they have accomplished – with passion, dedication and a desire to make a positive difference – will also enrich future generations.
Rowlands, a star of stage, screen and television, received Academy Award nominations for her work in A Woman Under the Influence and Gloria, both of which were directed by her husband John Cassevetes. Rowlands has long been held in renown in the cinephile community for her work in the American independent film scene. Her career spans more that 40 feature films including The Notebook and the 2014 indie comedy Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks.
Visionary filmmaker Lee burst onto the scene with his NYU thesis film, “Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads,” winning a Student Academy Award in 1983. He went on to success with his Oscar-nominated screenplay for Do the Right Thing and directed important works including Malcolm X, Jungle Fever and Mo’ Better Blues. Lee’s most recent film was the 2014 feature Da Sweet Blood of Jesus and is currently working on the feature Chiraq, an upcoming drama revolving around growing violence in Chicago, a film that stars Samuel L. Jackson (Django Unchained) and Angela Bassett (Strange Days).
Reynolds is being recognized with the Jean Hersholt Award, presented to those whose humanitarian efforts reflect positively on the industry. A star since her breakout role in 1952’s Singing in the Rain, Reynolds has spent a great portion of her career working for various causes, as a founding member of the Thalians, an industry-based organization devoted to treatment of mental health issues. The Thalians have contributed millions to the Mental Health Center at Cedars-Sinai and to UCLA’s Operation Mend, aiding returning military veterans. The actress received her lone Oscar nomination for her leading performance in the 1964 musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Reynolds received the Lifetime Achievement Award at this years’ Screen Actors Guild Awards.
The awards will be presented at the Academy’s 7th Annual Governors Awards on Saturday, November 14.