Geena Davis, David Lynch, Lina Wertmüller and Wes Studi to receive honorary Oscars

Geena Davis will receive an honorary Oscar this year.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Monday that it will present its annual honorary Governors Awards to director David Lynch, actor Wes Studi and director Lina Wertmüller, while actress Geena Davis will receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

The Governors Awards, which were once a part of the Oscar telecast and are now handed out in a separate ceremony, are 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.” The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award is presented “to an individual in the motion picture arts and sciences whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”

Davis, who won an Oscar for her supporting performance in “The Accidental Tourist” and has starred in such films as “Thelma & Louise,” “The Fly” and “A League of Their Own,” is the founder and chair of the nonprofit Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which is dedicated to eliminating gender bias and stereotypes in entertainment and boosting roles for women. In 2015, she launched the Bentonville Film Festival to support women and diversity in the entertainment industry.


Since making his feature debut with 1977’s “Eraserhead,” Lynch has established himself as one of cinema’s most idiosyncratic and influential directors. His 1980 drama “The Elephant Man” earned eight Academy Award nominations, including directing and adapted screenplay for Lynch along with best picture. He received additional directing nods for 1986’s “Blue Velvet” and 2001’s “Mulholland Drive,” yet he has never won a competitive Oscar.

The Oklahoma-born, Cherokee American Studi is known for his portrayals of strong Native American characters. Since breaking out in 1990’s “Dances With Wolves” and as the fierce Huron warrior Magua in 1992’s “Last of the Mohicans,” he has earned acclaim for his work in the movies “Geronimo: An American Legend,” “Heat,” “The New World,” “Avatar” and “Hostiles.”

In 1976, Wertmüller became the first woman to receive an Academy Award nomination for directing for her work on the picaresque film “Seven Beauties,” which also earned her an original screenplay nod. Known for tackling political and social issues, her other films include “The Basilisks” (1963), “The Seduction of Mimi” (1972), “Love and Anarchy” (1973) and “Swept Away” (1974).

Last year’s Governors Awards went to actress Cicely Tyson, composer Lalo Schifrin and publicist Marvin Levy, while producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award.

This year’s awards are to be presented at the Governors Awards ceremony on Oct. 27.

Twitter: @joshrottenberg