And the honorary Oscars go to James Earl Jones, Oprah Winfrey and Dick Smith.
The Academy's Board of Governors has named the first Oscar recipients of 2011 — and the honorees at the third annual Governors Awards dinner and ceremony on Saturday, November 12 will include an actor whose career stretches from "Dr. Strangelove" to Darth Vader, a makeup artist who began plying his trade more than half a century ago, and a one-woman showbiz colossus who will be taking home the first Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award bestowed by the Academy in three years.
Winfrey will receive the Hersholt to salute her extensive charitable, philanthropic and educational efforts. Actor Jones and makeup artist Smith, meanwhile, will receive honorary Academy Awards in recognition of lengthy and distinguished careers.
The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, which is also one of the Governors Awards, will not be handed out this year.
Smith is the only honoree to have won a competitive Oscar, for "Amadeus" in 1984. He was also nominated for "Dad" in 1989.
Winfrey and Jones were both nominated for acting awards — Winfrey as Best Supporting Actress for "The Color Purple" in 1985, Jones as Best Actor for "The Great White Hope" in 1970 — but neither won.
The choices were made at Tuesday night's board meeting, and announced by the Academy after the recipients had been notified.
Since the Governors Awards were moved to a separate show in 2009, this is the first year that the governors have selected three recipients, rather than the maximum of four.
The Academy press release:
Beverly Hills, CA – The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted tonight to present Honorary Awards to actor James Earl Jones and makeup artist Dick Smith and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to philanthropist Oprah Winfrey. All three awards will be presented at the Academy’s 3rd Annual Governors Awards dinner on Saturday, November 12, at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center®.
Born in Arkabutla, Mississippi, Jones made his film debut in 1964 in Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” In 1970, he earned an Academy Award® nomination for his role as boxer Jack Jefferson in “The Great White Hope.” Jones has appeared in more than 50 feature films including “Claudine,” “Conan the Barbarian,” “Field of Dreams,” “Coming to America” and, as Vice Admiral James Greer, “The Hunt for Red October,” “Patriot Games” and “Clear and Present Danger.” Additionally, Jones has also voiced some of the most iconic characters in motion pictures including Darth Vader in the Star Wars trilogy and Mustafa in “The Lion King.”
Known as the “godfather of makeup,” Smith began his career in 1945 as NBC’s first makeup man. He is known for his makeup artistry on such films as “The Godfather,” “The Exorcist” and “Taxi Driver.” In 1984 he won an Oscar® for his work on “Amadeus,” and received a nomination for “Dad” (1989). As an educator, Smith [below] helped train many of today’s Academy Award-winning and nominated makeup artists including Rick Baker, Greg Cannom, Kevin Haney, Kazuhiro Tsuji, Mike Elizalde and Carl Fullerton.
Since receiving her Oscar nomination for her debut film performance in “The Color Purple,” actress, television host and producer Winfrey has gone on to establish herself as one of the most influential figures in entertainment and philanthropy. She has been especially dedicated to supporting educational initiatives and raising awareness of issues that affect women and children, both in the United States and around the globe. Her philanthropic efforts have included Oprah’s Angel Network, the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, which opened in South Africa in 2007.
The Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, is given to an individual for “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 Award, an Oscar statuette, is given to an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.
The Governors Awards presentation will be produced for the Academy by writer-director Phil Robinson with Charlie Haykel and Juliane Hare of Don Mischer Productions.
Photos courtesy of AMPAS. Winfrey: Todd Wawrychuk. Smith: Richard Harbaugh