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Maureen O'Hara to receive honorary Oscar

Maureen O'Hara to receive an honorary Oscar.
Photograph courtesy of the archive.

It was announced today by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that after a vote last night, Honorary Oscars will be presented to classic film actress Maureen O'Hara, French Jean-Claude Carrière and Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. Entertainer/activist Harry Belafonte will be honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. The awards presentation will take place at the Academy’s 6th Annual Governors Awards on Saturday, November 8, 2014, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom in Hollywood, Calif.

“The Governors Awards allow us to reflect upon not the year in film, but the achievements of a lifetime,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “We're absolutely thrilled to honor these outstanding members of our global filmmaking community and look forward to celebrating with them in November.”

Maureen O’Hara was born in Dublin, Ireland and was discovered by actor Charles Laughton. He brought O'Hara to Hollywood to star with him in the remake of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," in 1939. This gorgeous siren with an Irish wit and long red hair became one of Hollywood's most desirable actresses. She starred in a few swashbucklers "Sinbad the Sailor," and "The Black Swan," the dramas "A Woman's Secret" and "This Land is Mine," the family holiday classic "Miracle on 34th Street," and the family film "The Parent Trap." But Maureen will forever be known in film history for her work with director John Ford and actor John Wayne. O'Hara starred in John Ford's Oscar-winning film "How Green was My Valley" in 1941. This story of a Welch family beat out "Citizen Kane" for Best Picture and took home four other Oscars. O'Hara starred opposite John Wayne in five films, including John Ford's "The Quiet Man" and "Rio Grande." No word from the Academy if the 94 year-old actress will receive her honor in person. She recently did attended in person the TCM Classic Film Festival last May in Hollywood, Calif.

Jean-Claude Carrière was a novelist and became a screenwriter after meeting French filmmaker Pierre Étai. The two shared an Oscar win for their live action short subject “Heureux Anniversaire (Happy Anniversary)” in 1962. Carrière received three more Oscar nominations for his work in “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie," shared with Luis Buñuel in 1973, “That Obscure Object of Desire,” also shared with Luis Buñuel in 1978 and a final nomination in 1989 for “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” shared with director Philip Kaufman.

Filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki is an writer, artist, producer, director and is the co-founder of the renown animation studio Studio Ghibli, located in Tokyo, Japan. Miyazaki gained an enormous following in his native Japan for such features as “Laputa: Castle in the Sky,” “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind,” and “My Neighbor Totoro” before breaking out in the late 1990s with the international hit “Princess Mononoke.” Miyazaki won an Oscar in 2003 for Best Animated Feature for his film “Spirited Away.” He has since been nominated for two additional Academy Awards, the first in 2006 for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year for “Howl’s Moving Castle” and the second just last March for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year for "The Wind Rises."

Harry Belafonte is an actor, singer, producer and lifelong activist. He began performing in theaters and nightclubs near his home in Harlem. Belafonte selected film projects that featured stories about inequality and racism, including the films "Odd against Tomorrow," "Carmen Jones" and "The World, the Flesh and the Devil." Belafonte often used his own income to fund initiatives during the Civil Rights Movement. He marched and organized along with Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1987, Belefonte was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. He currently serves on the boards of the Institute for Policy Studies and the Advancement Project. His work for famine relief, children, education, AIDS, and civil rights make him a perfect selection for this year's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

Honorary Awardees are presented with an Oscar statuette “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.”

The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Honoree is also give an Oscar statuette “to an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”

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