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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Angela Bassett and Mel Brooks are among those to receive honorary Oscars

Angela Bassett is one of four recipients of honorary Academy Awards this year.


Just a few months after Angela Bassett came close to clinching a supporting-actress Oscar for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” she’ll become one of four Hollywood figures to receive an honorary Oscar at this year’s Governors Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced. Also getting honorary Oscars will be director Mel Brooks and editor Carol Littleton, while the Sundance Institute’s Michelle Satter will be presented with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

The awards “honor four trailblazers who have transformed the film industry and inspired generations of filmmakers and movie fans,” academy president Janet Yang said in a statement.

Bassett, 64, was first nominated for playing Tina Turner in the biopic “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” and also starred in films like “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” “Malcolm X” and “Boyz N the Hood.” Her awards-season run for Wakanda Forever” earlier this year netted her a Golden Globe, and though she lost the Oscar to “Everything Everywhere All at Once” supporting actress Jamie Lee Curtis, Bassett is still one of only four Black actresses to have received more than one Oscar nomination for acting.

Brooks, who turns 97 this week, is the rare recipient of this honorary award to have already won a competitive Oscar: In 1969, he triumphed in the original-screenplay category for his debut film, “The Producers.” Much more was still to come, as Brooks went on to become one of Hollywood’s most notable comic directors, making beloved films like “Young Frankenstein” and “Blazing Saddles.” He’s even one of 18 people in show business to have reached competitive EGOT status, after having added Grammys, Emmys, and Tonys to the Oscar on his awards shelf.

Satter, the founding senior director of the Sundance Institute’s artist programs, has spent four decades nurturing independent filmmakers at the earliest stages of their careers: Projects like Wes Anderson’s “Bottle Rocket,” Darren Aronofsky’s “Requiem for a Dream,” Miranda July’s “Me and You and Everyone We Know” and Ryan Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station” were all developed at Satter’s Sundance Labs.

Littleton was Oscar-nominated for editing Steven Spielberg’s “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and went on to work primarily with directors Lawrence Kasdan (on films like “The Big Chill” and “The Accidental Tourist”) and Jonathan Demme (on “Beloved” and his remakes “The Manchurian Candidate” and “The Truth About Charlie”).

Though these honorary prizes are not televised, they remain one of awards season’s most star-studded events: Scheduled this year for Nov. 18, they offer the chance not only to herald the deserving but also to get schmoozy face time with a packed ballroom of Oscar voters. Expect emotional speeches delivered to scads of this season’s hopeful nominees, all of whom will work the crowd at every intermission.

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