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Honorary Oscars for Coppola, Wallach, Brownlow, Godard

The Board of Governors votes Thalberg to Coppola, and honors to actor, director and film preservationist

Francis Ford Coppola, Jean-Luc Godard, Eli Wallach and Kevin Brownlow have been selected as recipients of the 2010 Governors Awards by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In a special meeting held Tuesday evening at the Academy's Beverly Hills headquarters, the 43-member board voted Honorary Academy Award statuettes to Godard, Wallach and Browlow, and the Irving Thalberg Award to Coppola.

Coppola (AMPAS photo, below) is the only one of the four to have received an Oscar in the past. He is a 14-time nominee and five-time winner, landing Oscars for writing and directing Best Picture winners "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part II," as well as for writing "Patton." He is also being honored for his establishment of American Zoetrope and his backing of films ranging from "The Black Stallion" to "The Good Shepherd."

Francis Ford CoppolaThe Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, which goes to a producer "whose body of work reflects a consistently high quality of motion picture production," is the only honorary award that in recent years has typically gone to a past Oscar winner.

Wallach has appeared in more than 50 films in a 54-year career, including "The Magnificent Seven," "The Misfits" and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." He is in Oliver Stone's "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," which will be released this fall.

He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his film debut in "Baby Doll" in 1957 and has won one Emmy and been nominated four more times, but he has never been nominated for an Academy Award.

Brownlow is a Britsh-born film historian and preservationist who has worked to document and preserve many of the essential films of the silent era, including Abel Gance's "Napoleon" and the Douglas Fairbanks adventure film "The Thief of Baghdad."

He has written numerous books about the early days of Hollywood, including "Hollywood: The Pioneers" and "Mary Pickford Rediscovered," and has directed numerous documentaries about the likes of Buster Keaton, D.W. Griffith, Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo.

Godard, who has shunned film honors in the past, helped spearhead the French New Wave movement in the 1960s, beginning with "Breathless." He has been making adventurous, influential and often confounding films ever since, including "Contempt," "Band of Outsiders" and "Every Man for Himself"; his latest, "Film Socialisme," drew wildly mixed reviews at Cannes and will screen in Toronto shortly.

When Godard's latest film screened at Cannes, the director failed to appear at a scheduled press conference for the film, sending a cryptic message alluding to the economic troubles in Greece.

“Each of these honorees has touched movie audiences worldwide and influenced the motion picture industry through their work,” said Academy President Tom Sherak in a press release announcing the selections.  “It will be an honor to celebrate their extraordinary achievements and contributions at the Governors Awards.”

The honors will be handed out at the second Governors Award ceremony, which will take place on Saturday, November 13 in the Grand Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood. The presentation will be produced by former Academy president Sid Ganis with Don Mischer Productions.