Directors Francis Ford Coppola and Jean-Luc Godard, along with actor Eli Wallach and film historian Kevin Brownlow were honored with an Oscar each for their entire careers in Hollywood, on Saturday night.
In the presence of big Hollywood names such as Clint Eastwood, Warren Beatty, Annette Bening and Robert de Niro – Francis Ford Coppola received the most prestigious award given by the Academy, the Irving G. Thalberg Award, for visionary producing.
“Star Wars” creator George Lucas said Coppola had been his filmmaking mentor and recounted the tremendous influence that he carried for many of his contemporaries in the late 1960s and ’70s.
“He was our leader. He was our inspiration,” Lucas said before giving Coppola the Thalberg trophy.
The director of “The Godfather” and “Apocalypse Now” expressed his “great love of the original Hollywood tradition.”
Jean-Luc Godard, the Franco-Swiss filmmaker, who is 79 years old, didn’t attend the event in Los Angeles to receive his statuette.
The Academy’s decision to give Godard an honorary Oscar sparked a controversy in the United States, where part of the media has accused him of anti-Semitism, after an article that appeared in early October in the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles accused the director of favoring Palestinians.
Godard’s absence at the Governors Awards dinner raised some eyebrows but the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, Tom Sherak, assured that “this award was important to him” and that Godard had “expressed his sincere appreciation to the Academy.”
This is the second year that these honors are awarded in the fall. In an effort to speed the annual ceremony for the world’s top film honors, which will take place on February 27, the Academy moved the ceremony to November to launch Oscar season.
Eli Wallach, 94, the “Ugly” in “The good, the bad and the ugly” by Sergio Leone, was awarded an Oscar for his entire career, which included roles in the movies “The Misfits” and “Baby Doll”.