Michael J. Fox To Receive Oscars' Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

Zinger Key Points
  • Honorary Oscars will be presented to filmmakers Euzhan Palcy and Peter Weir and songwriter Diane Warren.
  • Fox retired from acting in 2020 due to health issues.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present its Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Michael J. Fox as well as Honorary Academy Awards to filmmakers Euzhan Palcy and Peter Weir and songwriter Diane Warren.

Fox’s Honor: The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award is an Oscar statuette given “to an individual in the motion picture arts and sciences whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”

In choosing the Canadian-born Fox, the Academy paid tribute to his creation of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000, which has become the world’s most prominent. A popular actor in films (most notably the “Back to the Future” franchise) and television, Fox was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991 and retired from acting in 2020 due to health reasons.

“Michael J. Fox’s tireless advocacy of research on Parkinson’s disease alongside his boundless optimism exemplifies the impact of one person in changing the future for millions,” said Academy President David Rubin.

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The Honorary Oscars: The Honorary Award is an Oscar statuette given “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.”

Palcy, born in Martinique, French West Indies, broke film industry barriers in 1983 with her feature film “Sugar Cane Alley,” which won the Silver Lion at the 1983 Venice Film Festival (a first for a Black director) and France’s César Award for Best First Work (the first César won by a woman director and by a Black filmmaker). Her 1989 feature “A Dry White Season” marked the first time a Black woman directed a film produced by a major Hollywood studio. Palcy’s later work primarily focused on French-based documentaries and historical dramas on the French-Caribbean experience, as well as occasional U.S.-based television films including "Ruby Bridges" and "The Killing Yard."

Weir gained prominence in his native Australia in the 1970s with films including “Picnic at Hanging Rock” and “The Last Wave.” He relocated to Hollywood in the 1980s and received four Oscar nominations for Best Director — “Witness,” “Dead Poets Society,” “The Truman Show” and “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” — plus a Best Original Screenplay nomination for “Green Card.”

Warren has written original songs for more than 100 films and received 13 Oscar nominations in the Best Original Song category since 1987. Her most recent nomination was in this year’s Oscar competition for the tune “Somehow You Do” from the film “Four Good Days.”

The awards will be presented at the Academy’s 13th Governors Awards on Nov. 19, in Los Angeles. The next Academy Awards ceremony is slated for March 12, 2023.

Photo: Michael J. Fox, courtesy of Teodor Bjerrang / Flickr Creative Commons

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Posted In: EntertainmentGeneralAcademy AwardsfilmmakingMichael J. FoxOscars
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