Thursday, September 01, 2016

Honorary Oscar Winners!

Jackie Chan
Well, I predicted one of the four Honorary Oscar winners right (you missed that because you don't follow me on Twitter?  Rectify immediately!).  Lynn Stalmaster, who helped launch the careers of everyone from Dustin Hoffman to Bo Derek, has finally won an Oscar at the age of 88, after serving as casting director for over 500 films-it's a wildly deserving award in terms of both quality (In the Heat of the Night and Tootsie are among his crowning achievements) and quantity (500 films-that's crazy, and that's with him having retired a decade ago with A Lobster Tale).

Joining him is the out-of-the-box (thought not undeserving) Jackie Chan, who might illicit some chuckles, but actually feels about right for an Oscar, quite frankly.  I was a little surprised to hear it was an Honorary trophy, rather than a Hersholt (he's did quite a bit for organizations like UNICEF), but he has been a titan in the world of Asian cinema, in particular becoming an icon of martial arts films, and the Honorary Oscar is for a body of work, not necessarily for a specific film so I raise an eyebrow but also nod in concurrence.  Frederick Wiseman also won an Academy Award for his decades of work in documentary film-making, something difficult to argue with at this point.

The final winner, though, while I congratulate her, I do have to question just a little bit.  Anne V. Coates is a titan of film editing, one of the greatest of all-time.  From Lawrence of Arabia to Fifty Shades of Grey (with four more Oscar nominations in-between), she is a pioneer, particularly when you consider how few film editors of prominence are women.  She definitely deserves to be an Oscar winner.  However, Coates already has an Oscar (for Lawrence), and while she did win so early in her career I'll buy she deserved it for the fifty years that happened afterward, there are so many people waiting on an Oscar (competitive or otherwise) that my hope would be that they would have picked one of them since Coates already is Oscar-winning (and still works enough that she could quite frankly win another on her own).  It's certainly deserved, but not really necessary.

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