The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences went global with its honorary Governors Awards on Saturday evening in Hollywood, paying tribute to three movie legends — Irish-born actress Maureen O'Hara, Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki and French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere — along with Harry Belafonte, winner of the academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
That kind of reverence extended to the evening's honorees. John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, called Miyazaki the "most original filmmaker to ever work in our medium." Lasseter also noted a personal connection, saying he wooed his wife, Nancy, by showing her scenes from Miyazaki's first film, "The Castle of Cagliostro," a day after they first met.
The 87-year-old Belafonte brought actor Sidney Poitier on stage near the end of a typically outspoken speech that took Hollywood to task for past sins ("Birth of a Nation," "Tarzan," "Song of the South"), called on filmmakers to "see a better side of what we are as a species" and thanked the academy for recognition that "powerfully mutes the enemy's thunder."
"Evenings like this are powerful," Eastwood told The Times. "I came here tonight because I made a movie ("Lady Godiva of Coventry") with Maureen O'Hara 60 years ago. I didn't know I had been acting that long. You don't think about those things. You don't want to think about those things. And then a night like this reminds you. It's a powerful thing."