Diane Warren will receive an honorary award from the Motion Picture Academy – Billboard
Diane Warren went 0-13 at the Oscars in the Best Original Song category, but her luck is changing dramatically. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Tuesday (June 21) that its board of directors had voted to award honorary awards to Warren, director Peter Weir and filmmaker Euzhan Palcy, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to the actor Michael J. Fox. The four Oscar statuettes will be presented at the 13th Academy Governors Awards on November 19 in Los Angeles.
Warren is the first person primarily known as a songwriter to be selected for an honorary Oscar. Previous honorary Oscars have gone to film composers Alex North, Lalo Schifrin and Ennio Morricone and musical comedy stars such as Gene Kelly, Danny Kaye, Eddie Cantor and Maurice Chevalier. The honorary Oscars date back to 1950.
“The Academy’s Board of Trustees is honored to recognize four individuals who have made indelible contributions to film and the world at large,” Academy President David Rubin said in a statement. “Michael J. Fox’s tireless advocacy for Parkinson’s disease research and his boundless optimism illustrate the impact of one person in changing the future of millions. Euzhan Palcy is a pioneering filmmaker whose groundbreaking significance in international cinema is rooted in film history. Diane Warren’s music and lyrics have amplified the emotional impact of countless films and inspired generations of musical artists. Peter Weir is a director of consummate artistic skill and talent whose work reminds us of the power of film to reveal the full range of human experience.
Warren is one of only nine songwriters in Oscar history to have amassed 13 or more nominations. But she’s also the only one of those nine songwriters yet to win one. This honorary award will not count as a competitive Oscar, although it is a fine tribute. And that can be the precursor to a competitive reward. Legendary composer Morricone won an honorary award in 2006, when his Oscar run for best original score was 0-5. He won the very next time he was nominated, in 2016, for The Hateful Eight.
Here’s what an Academy press release says about Warren: “Warren is one of the most prolific contemporary songwriters and has written original songs for over 100 films. She has earned 13 Oscar nominations in the original song category, beginning in 1987 and in each of the past five decades, for songs such as “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “Because You Loved Me”, “How Do I Live”, “I don’t want to miss anything”, “Until it happens to you” and “Stand up for something”. She has collaborated with leading musical artists such as Beyoncé, Cher, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson, Lady Gaga, John Legend, Reba McEntire and Carlos Santana.
Like Warren, Weir has always been an Oscar bridesmaid. It went 0-6 at the awards, despite four nominations for directing, one for writing, and one for best picture.
While Fox never had success on the Billboard Hot 100, a song from a box office hit he starred in and the TV show he rose to fame on both reached No. 1. These songs were Huey Lewis & the News “The Power of Love” from Back to the future (1985) and “At This Moment” by Billy Vera & the Beaters from Family ties (1987).
Both Warren and Fox are Grammy winners. Warren won the 1996 award for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television for “Because You Loved Me” from Up close and personal). Fox won the 2009 award for Best Spoken Word Album (includes poetry, audiobooks and storytelling) for his audiobook Still looking.
The Academy statement notes that in 2000, Fox launched the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research, which is now the world’s leading Parkinson’s organization. He is the author of four New York Times bestselling books: Lucky, Still looking, A funny thing happened on the way to the future and No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality. Fox is the subject of a documentary by Oscar-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, which is currently in production.
The honorary award, an Oscar statuette, is given “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, outstanding contributions to the state of the motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.”
The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, also an Oscar statuette, is given “to a person in the motion picture arts and sciences whose humanitarian efforts have brought honor to the industry.”