Spike Lee, Gena Rowlands, Debbie Reynolds to receive honorary Oscars

Actress Gena Rowlands (above) and director Spike Lee will receive honorary Oscar awards this year.
Actress Gena Rowlands (above) and director Spike Lee will receive honorary Oscar awards this year.PHOTO: AFP

Los Angeles (Agence France-Presse) - Director Spike Lee and actress Gena Rowlands will receive honorary Oscar awards this year and film star Debbie Reynolds will be awarded a humanitarian prize, Academy Award organizers said Thursday.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences emphasised the "extraordinary contribution" that the three legends have made to show business throughout their long careers.

"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," Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement.

The honorees will receive the awards - which look just like the Oscars that will be given out at the Academy Awards in February - at the Governors Awards in November.

It will be the seventh annual Governors Awards, held in Hollywood.

None of the honorees have won an Oscar, though they have all been nominated.

Lee, 58, earned a best screenplay nomination for 1989's Do the Right Thing, and his 1997 film 4 Little Girls earned a best documentary nomination. His influence on the film industry has extended from mainstream hits such as Malcolm X and He Got Game to cutting examinations of contemporary urban American life in dozens of independent films.

Rowlands received best actress nominations for 1974's A Woman Under the Influence and 1980's Gloria. Reynolds, who will receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, first captivated audiences in 1952's Singin' in the Rain. She was later was nominated for an Oscar for her lead role in 1964's The Unsinkable Molly Brown and helped found a group that works to combat mental health issues.

Last year, singer Harry Belafonte earned the humanitarian award and Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki and French director Jean-Claude Carriere took home the honorary awards.