The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the recipients of its 13th Governors Awards. As voted on by its Board of Governors, director Euzhan Palcy, songwriter Diane Warren, and director Peter Weir are being presented with Honorary Awards, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award will go to actor Michael J. Fox. The four Oscar statuettes will be presented at the ceremony taking place on Saturday, November 19, 2022, in Los Angeles.
“The Academy’s Board of Governors is honored to recognize four individuals who have made indelible contributions to cinema and the world at large,” said Academy President David Rubin in a statement about this year’s recipients. “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. Euzhan Palcy is a pioneering filmmaker whose groundbreaking significance in international cinema is cemented in film history. Diane Warren’s music and lyrics have magnified the emotional impact of countless motion pictures and inspired generations of musical artists. 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.”
While the Honorary Award is meant “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy,” per the Academy, 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.”
While Fox is best known to filmgoers as Marty McFly in the “Back to the Future” trilogy, he has seen the most success on television, collecting multiple Emmys for his roles on hit shows like “Family Ties” and “Spin City.” In 2000, he launched the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, shortly after announcing his own battle with the disease. Although he still continued to act on projects like “The Good Wife” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” his dedication to the foundation has led to it becoming the leading Parkinson’s organization in the world. Circling back to the film world, Fox is the subject of a documentary from Oscar-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, which is currently in production.
Palcy, best known as the first Black woman to direct a film for a major Hollywood studio, is a screenwriter, director, and producer. That specific film, the 1989 apartheid drama “A Dry White Season,” netted icon Marlon Brando his final Oscar nomination. Palcy also made history with her feature debut “Sugar Cane Alley,” which won the Silver Lion at the 1983 Venice Film Festival, a first for a Black director, and went on to win a César Award for Best First Work, the first César won by a woman director and by a Black filmmaker.
Warren, who was just nominated for Best Original Song at this past Oscars, is a pioneering musician that has written original songs for over 100 films. She also happens to be the most-nominated artist to never win an Oscar, having been a contender for Best Original Song 13 times across five decades. A sampling of her work, some of the most memorable movie songs of all time, include “Because You Love Me” by Celine Dion, “How Do I Live” by Leann Rimes, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith, and “Til It Happens to You” by Lady Gaga.
Finally, Weir, one of the faces of the Australian New Wave film movement in the 1970s, made his name off visionary projects like “Picnic at Hanging Rock” and “The Last Wave.” He is a six-time Oscar nominee, four of which were for directing “Witness,” “Dead Poets Society,” “The Truman Show” and “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.” His other notable work includes “Green Card” (which he got an Oscar nomination for writing), “The Way Back,” “Fearless,” “The Mosquito Coast,” “The Year of Living Dangerously” and “Gallipoli.”
As far as some Honorary Oscar candidates the Academy has yet to recognize, filmmakers like Werner Herzog, Paul Schrader, Stephen Frears, Michael Haneke, Richard Lester, Terrence Malick, and Ridley Scott, and actors like Ann-Margret, Leslie Caron, Catherine Deneuve, Bruce Dern, Kim Novak, Mia Farrow, Harrison Ford, Ian McKellen, and eight-time acting nominee Glenn Close all still wait their day.
Anne Thompson contributed to this story.