A quartet of cinema legends will soon bask in the glow of Oscar gold.
Following a vote by its Board of Governors, the Academy announced Monday it will present honorary Oscars this year to Twin Peaks mastermind and Palme d’Or-winning director David Lynch, Last of the Mohicans actor Wes Studi, and Italian filmmaker Lina Wertmüller (Seven Beauties, Swept Away), while actress Geena Davis will receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her continued work to advance gender equality in the film industry.
In a press statement, Academy President John Bailey said this year’s recipients represent “individuals who have devoted themselves to a lifetime of artistic accomplishment and brought outstanding contributions to our industry, and beyond.”
Among various philanthropic endeavors, Davis — a prior Oscar winner for her supporting role in the 1988 film The Accidental Tourist — founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, a nonprofit working to educate and influence entertainment creators to eliminate gender bias and create more roles for women in Hollywood. The United Nations also appointed Davis as the Special Envoy for Women and Girls in Information and Communication Technologies in 2012, before she founded the female-focused Bentonville Film Festival in 2015.
In addition to his groundbreaking work in narrative television with Twin Peaks, Lynch released his first feature, Eraserhead, in 1977, and went on to helm several boundary-pushing dramas in the years that followed, including eight-time Oscar-nominated biopic The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, Wild at Heart, and Inland Empire. He has earned four Oscar nominations across his career — including three for Best Director.
Studi, a Cherokee-American actor, has appeared in more than 30 films throughout his three-decade career, with a focus on portraying Native American characters in several well-known films, including Dances with Wolves and The Last of the Mohicans. Recently, he has performed in James Cameron’s Avatar, the 2017 festival favorite Hostiles, and the Showtime series Penny Dreadful.
At 90 years old, Wertmüller has amassed 32 directing credits over the last 56 years. In 1976, she became the first woman to receive an Oscar nod for Best Director (to date, only four other women have been nominated) for her work on Seven Beauties.
Per the Academy’s official description, honorary Oscars are to be given for “extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy,” while the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award — previously won by the likes of Angelina Jolie, Debbie Reynolds, and Oprah Winfrey — is given “to an individual in the motion picture arts and sciences whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”
The 11th Annual Governors Awards will be held Sunday, Oct. 27 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles, followed by the 2020 Academy Awards telecast on Sunday, Feb. 9.