Classic stars Debbie Reynolds and Gena Rowlands, and “Do the Right Thing” director Spike Lee, will be honored at this year’s Governor’s Awards, the Academy announced today via Twitter.
The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted August 25 to present Honorary Awards to Spike Lee and Gena Rowlands, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Debbie Reynolds, the Academy announced. All three awards will be presented at the Academy’s 7th Annual Governors Awards on Saturday, November 14, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood.
“The Board is proud to recognize our honorees’ remarkable contributions at this year’s Governors Awards,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs in a press release. “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.”
Independent film icon Rowlands, 85, received Academy Award nominations for her lead performances in “A Woman under the Influence” (1974) and “Gloria” (1980), both directed by her husband, John Cassavetes. She also starred in his films “Faces,” “Minnie and Moskowitz,” and “Opening Night.” Her film career began with her debut in “The High Cost of Loving” in 1958, and she continues to act, starring in “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks,” released earlier this year. Her other films include “Lonely Are the Brave,” “Another Woman,” “Unhook the Stars,” “Hope Floats,” “Playing by Heart,” and “The Notebook.”
Reynolds, now 83, became a star at age 19 with her role as aspiring actress in the classic 1952 musical “Singin’ in the Rain.” She has appeared in more than 40 feature films, including “The Tender Trap,” “A Catered Affair,” “How the West Was Won,” “Charlotte’s Web,” and “Mother,” and received a 1964 Oscar Best Actress nomination for “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.”
She will be receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, which is given “to an individual in the motion picture arts and sciences whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.” She was a founding member and frequent president of the Thalians, a charitable organization that promotes awareness and treatment of mental health issues. The charity has contributed millions to the Mental Health Center at Cedars-Sinai and to UCLA’s Operation Mend, which helps military veterans recover from the physical and psychological wounds of war, according to the Academy.
Lee, 58, won a Student Academy Award in 1983 for his NYU film thesis “Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads.” He went on to write and direct such innovative independent films as “She’s Gotta Have It,” “School Daze” and “Do the Right Thing,” which earned him a 1989 Oscar nomination for Original Screenplay. He was Oscar-nominated again for his powerful 1997 documentary “4 Little Girls,” about the 1963 bombing at an Alabama church that killed four black girls. His other films include “Malcolm X,” “Inside Man, “Mo’ Better Blues,” “Jungle Fever,” “Crooklyn,” “He Got Game,” and “25th Hour.” He currently serves as the artistic director of the graduate film program at NYU.
Congratulations to all three!
The Governors Awards used to be part of the annual televised Oscar ceremony; since 2009 they have been held separately.