By Sandy Cohen
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LOS ANGELES _ The first Oscar statuettes of the season were presented Saturday night at the film academy’s Governors Awards.
The Hollywood ceremony honours this year’s recipients of honorary Academy Awards: Actress Maureen O’Hara, filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki and screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere. Actor and activist Harry Belafonte received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences established the Governors Awards in 2009 as an untelevised celebration of its honorary Oscar winners.
“It’s special because it’s an intimate evening,” academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a recent interview. “It’s a chance for the academy to recognize the diverse talent that it takes to realize the dream of moviemaking.”
She said the annual event is a favourite of the academy and the film industry because it allows a personal look into the professional lives of exceptional talents.
At the ceremony, O’Hara posed for a photo with Miyazaki, while Belafonte chatted with Morgan Freeman and Reese Witherspoon had a heart to heart with Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Jake Gyllenhaal, Marion Cotillard, Ron Howard and Pixar chief John Lasseter also turned out for the event.
The academy’s board of governors, comprising representatives of all 17 branches, selects the honorary Oscar winners.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at