Davis one of four people to get honorary Oscars

Actress Geena Davis is being honoured for fighting gender bias and stereotypes in entertainment over the decades.
Actress Geena Davis is being honoured for fighting gender bias and stereotypes in entertainment over the decades.PHOTO: INVISION

LOS ANGELES • Long before the Times Up movement shook Hollywood with a strident call for a more level playing field, actress Geena Davis had already planted the first seeds.

She founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media in 2004, and her work over the decades to fight gender bias and stereotypes in entertainment has now been rewarded.

Davis, 63, is among four people whom the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will bestow with honorary Oscars.

The other three are Italian writer-director Lina Wertmuller, Cherokee American actor and activist Wes Studi and enigmatic film-maker David Lynch.

The honours will be handed out at the academy's Governors Awards on Oct 27, held a month earlier than usual to avoid the late-in-the-year opening of the academy's museum.

Academy president John Bailey said in a statement that the recipients had "devoted themselves to a lifetime of artistic accomplishment and brought outstanding contributions to our industry and beyond".

Davis, 63, an Oscar winner for her supporting role in 1988 romantic drama The Accidental Tourist and a nominee for Thelma And Louise (1991), will receive the academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

In selecting Wertmuller, 90, the academy cited her groundbreaking Oscar nomination in 1977.

She was the first woman to receive recognition as a director. It was for Seven Beauties, a comedic war drama. She also received a nomination for writing the screenplay. Her other films include Swept Away (1974) and The Seduction Of Mimi (1972).

Studi, 71, has never before been singled out for Oscar attention.

He has appeared in more than 30 movies, starting with the independent film Powwow Highway (1989).

Other credits include Dances With Wolves (1990) and The Last Of The Mohicans (1992).

Studi became involved in Native American activism after military service in the Vietnam War, the academy noted, describing his acting contribution as portraying Native American characters with "poignancy and authenticity".

The award comes almost half a century after Marlon Brando memorably declined his best actor Oscar for The Godfather in protest at the movie industry's treatment of Native Americans.

Lynch, 73, has received four Oscar nominations: three as director - for The Elephant Man (1980), Blue Velvet (1986) and Mulholland Drive (2001) - and one for contributing to the Elephant Man screenplay.

The academy made particular note of his first feature, Eraserhead (1977), which Lynch wrote, produced and directed.

He also led the editing, scoring and sound design for that horror film, which has become a cult favourite.

The Governors Awards event, which is not televised, takes place over dinner in a Los Angeles ballroom. It has become a prominent campaign stop in the annual Academy Awards race.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2019, with the headline 'Davis one of four people to get honorary Oscars'. Print Edition | Subscribe