Oscar governors honor Coppola, Godard with awards

Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:54am EST
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar organizers began giving out film industry gold on Saturday when they bestowed honors on four movie veterans, including groundbreaking directors Jean-Luc Godard and Francis Ford Coppola.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science gathered a who's who of Hollywood A-listers -- including Clint Eastwood, Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Oliver Stone and Robert De Niro -- for their annual Governors Awards to give honorary Oscars to Godard, actor Eli Wallach and film historian Kevin Brownlow, for their work in the industry.

"Godfather" director Coppola was given the night's biggest honor, the Irving G. Thalberg Award, for visionary producing.

"Star Wars" creator George Lucas recounted how Coppola, the writer of "Patton" and director of "Apocalypse Now," had been his filmmaking mentor and said Coppola had blazed trails for many of his contemporaries in the late 1960s and '70s.

"He was our leader. He was our inspiration," Lucas said before giving Coppola the Thalberg trophy, which is considered the highest honor the Academy can give.

Coppola, seated with family members including his wife of 48 years, Eleanor, his son Roman and daughter Sofia, took the stage and hugged Lucas, likening him to a younger brother.

"I have a great love of the original Hollywood tradition," Coppola said.

This marked only the second year the Academy has given away the honorary Oscars and a Thalberg statuette at the Governors Awards at the dinner. Until last year, the group had always handed out the honors on the same night as the Academy Awards.   Continued...

<p>Actor Eli Wallach, (L) director Francis Ford Coppola and filmmaker and film historian Kevin Brownlow (R) pose after The Governors Awards held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts &amp; Sciences in Hollywood, California November 13, 2010. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>