Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The parade’s still going by…but at least they’re honoring the Grand Marshal

This article over at the L.A. Times is trumpeting the news that Francis Ford Coppola will be the recipient of the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award come this November—and that French film directing legend Jean-Luc Godard and TDOY acting fave Eli Wallach will be getting honorary statuettes as well. But here’s the big news that really made me stand up and applaud (bold italics most assuredly mine):

The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Wednesday that it would present The Godfather director-producer Francis Ford Coppola with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award and give honorary Oscars to British film historian and preservationist Kevin Brownlow, French "New Wave" director Jean-Luc Godard, who made his feature directorial debut 50 years ago with the seminal Breathless, and veteran actor Eli Wallach, who has appeared in such films as The Magnificent Seven and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The four awards will be handed out at the academy's second annual Governors Awards dinner Nov. 13 at the Grand Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center.

Until last year, these awards were presented during the Oscar ceremony. But in 2009 the board decided to give the honorees their own nontelevised celebratory dinner.

(snip)

Brownlow, 72, has restored numerous silent classic films, including Abel Gance's 1927 masterwork, Napoleon, Rex Ingram's 1921 epic The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, which made Rudolph Valentino a star, and Douglas Fairbanks' 1924 fantasy The Thief of Bagdad. He also is the author of such acclaimed books as The Parade's Gone By, Hollywood: The Pioneers and Mary Pickford Rediscovered. His numerous documentaries include Unknown Chaplin, Hollywood and Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow.

The aforementioned docs—along with Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius—stoked my interest and passion for silent film like nothing else…and I still treasure my copy of Parade. As far as I’m concerned, this honor couldn’t be bestowed upon a more worthy individual.

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3 comments:

Stacia said...

Excellent news, and Kevin deserves the award. I haven't "spoken" to him (in Internet terms) for years, but he was so helpful and patient with me when I was a film noob on Usenet back in the 1990s.

Brent McKee said...

It is more than a little ironic that they are honouring Kevin Brownlow at the same time that they are honouring Francis Ford Coppola. As I'm sure that you know, Kevin Brownlow has a near obsession with Abel Gance's Napoleon and has re-edited it numerous times with the most recent restoration being completed in 2000. However as I understand it we are unlikely to ever see the most up to date restoration on DVD because the distribution rights to the film are controlled by Francis Ford Coppola who funded a bad restoration in 1980, scored by his father Carmine, and which was shown at 24 fps rather than 20, and had scenes cut by Coppola to reduce the length to 3 hours & 43 minutes. In fact Coppola attempted to prevent the British Film Institute's 2004 presentation of Brownlow's 2000 restoration which featured a score by frequent Brownlow collaborator Carl Davis. Rather ironic (in a sickening way) that they'll be honoured at the same ceremony.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

In fact Coppola attempted to prevent the British Film Institute's 2004 presentation of Brownlow's 2000 restoration which featured a score by frequent Brownlow collaborator Carl Davis. Rather ironic (in a sickening way) that they'll be honoured at the same ceremony.

I'm glad you jogged everybody's memory about this--I knew about it, but wasn't completely 100% on the facts of the matter...I had toyed with the idea of mentioning this in the post, and then just censored myself for safety's sake.

Excellent news, and Kevin deserves the award. I haven't "spoken" to him (in Internet terms) for years, but he was so helpful and patient with me when I was a film noob on Usenet back in the 1990s.

There will now be a tight close-up on my green-with-envy face. I can't think of a finer individual to have for a mentor!