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Academy Honorary Award

The Academy Honorary Award is given irregularly to celebrate achievements that are not covered by the competitive awards. In the early years it was often used to reward accomplishments that did not fit in existing categories. This subsequently led to several new categories. In recent years it has been given almost exclusively to celebrate a lifetime of achievement.

Unlike the annual competitive Academy Awards, which are voted on the Academy membership as a whole, recipients of the Honorary Award are chosen by a special committee of Academy members. The award trophy, however, is the same gold "Oscar" statuette as is given for other awards.


List of Academy Honorary Award winners

For this award the year refers to the year during which the award was actually given.


  • 1929 - Charles Chaplin - For versatility and genius in acting, writing, directing and producing The Circus - Chaplin was nominated for best actor, but the academy took him out of competition so that he could receive a special award.
  • 1929 - Warner Bros - For producing The Jazz Singer, the pioneer outstanding talking picture, which has revolutionized the industry


  • 1930 (Apr.) - none
  • 1930 (Nov.) - none. Although not generally considered in this category, honorary memberships in the Academy were given at this time to Thomas A. Edison and George Eastman
  • 1931 - none
  • 1932 - Walt Disney - For the creation of Mickey Mouse.
  • 1933 - no ceremony in this calendar year because of changed qualifying periods.
  • 1934 - none
  • 1935 - none
  • 1936 - D. W. Griffith - For his distinguished creative achievements as director and producer and his invaluable initiative and lasting contributions to the progress of the motion picture arts.
  • 1937 - March of Time - For its significance to motion pictures and for having revolutionized one of the most important branches of the industry - the newsreel.
  • 1937 W. Howard Greene , Harold Rosson - For the color cinematography of the Selznick International Production The Garden of Allah (plaque).
  • 1938 - Museum of Modern Art Film Library - For its significant work in collecting films dating from 1895 to the present and for the first time making available to the public the means of studying the historical and aesthetic development of the motion picture as one of the major arts (certificate).
  • 1938 - Edgar Bergen - For his outstanding comedy creation, Charlie McCarthy (wooden statuette).
  • 1938 - Mack Sennett - For his lasting contribution to the comedy technique of the screen, the basic principles of which are as important today as when they were first put into practice, the Academy presents a special award to that master of fun, discoverer of stars, sympathetic, kindly, understanding comedy genius, Mack Sennett.
  • 1938 - W. Howard Greene - For the color photography of A Star Is Born. (plaque)

- This award was recommended by a committee of leading cinematographers after viewing all the color pictures made during the year.

  • 1939 - Arthur Ball - For his outstanding contributions to the advancement of color in motion picture photography (certificate).
  • 1939 - Harry M. Warner - In recognition of patriotic service in the production of historical short subjects presenting significant episodes in the early struggle of the American people for liberty (certificate).
  • 1939 - Walt Disney - For Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, recognized as a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field (one statuette - seven miniature statuettes).
  • 1939 - Gordon Jennings (special effects), Jan Domela (assistant special effects), Devereaux Jennings (assistant special effects), Irmin Roberts (assistant special effects), Art Smith (assistant special effects), Farciot Edouart (transparencies), Loyal Griggs (assistant transparencies), Loren L. Ryder (sound effects), Harry D. Mills (assistant sound effects), Louis Mesenkop (assistant sound effects), Walter Oberst (assistant sound effects) - For outstanding achievements in creating special photographic and sound effects in the Paramount production Spawn of the North (plaque).
  • 1939 - Oliver T. Marsh , Allen M. Davey - For the color cinematography of the M-G-M production Sweethearts .


  • 1940 - Jean Hersholt (president), Ralph Morgan (chairman of the executive committee), Ralph Block (first vice-president), Conrad Nagel ; Motion Picture Relief Fund - Acknowledging the outstanding services to the industry during the past year of the Motion Picture Relief Fund and its progressive leadership (plaque).
  • 1940 - Technicolor Co. - For its contributions in successfully bringing three-color feature production to the screen.
  • 1940 - Douglas Fairbanks - Recognizing the unique and outstanding contribution of Douglas Fairbanks, first president of the Academy, to the international development of the motion picture (Commemorative Award).
  • 1940 - William Cameron Menzies - For outstanding achievement in the use of color for the enhancement of dramatic mood in the production of Gone with the Wind (plaque).
  • 1941 - Bob Hope - In recognition of his unselfish services to the motion picture industry (special silver plaque).
  • 1941 - Nathan Levinson - For his outstanding service to the industry and the Army during the past nine years, which has made possible the present efficient mobilization of the motion picture industry facilities for the production of Army training films.
  • 1942 - Walt Disney, William E. Garity , J. N. A. Hawkins , RCA Manufacturing Co. - For their outstanding contribution to the advancement of the use of sound in motion pictures through the production of Fantasia (certificate).
  • 1942 - Leopold Stokowski (and his associates) - For their unique achievement in the creation of a new form of visualized music in Walt Disney's production Fantasia , thereby widening the scope of the motion picture as entertainment and as an art form (certificate).
  • 1942 - Scott Rey - For his extraordinary achievement in producing Kukan , the film record of China's struggle, including its photography with a 16mm camera under the most difficult and dangerous conditions (certificate).
  • 1942 - United Kingdom Ministry of Information - Target for Tonight - For its vivid and dramatic presentation of the heroism of the RAF in the documentary film (certificate).
  • 1943 - M-G-M Studio - For its achievement in representing the American way of life in the production of the Andy Hardy series of films (certificate).
  • 1943 - Charles Boyer - For his progressive cultural achievement in establishing the French Research Foundation in Los Angeles as a source of reference (certificate).
  • 1943 - Noel Coward - In Which We Serve - For his outstanding production achievement in "In Which We Serve" (certificate).
  • 1944 - George Pál - For the development of novel methods and techniques in the production of short subjects known as Puppetoons (plaque).
  • 1945 - Bob Hope - For his many services to the Academy (Life Membership in the AMPAS).
  • 1946 - Daniel J. Bloomberg , Republic Studio , Republic Sound Department - For the building of an outstanding musical scoring auditorium which provides optimum recording conditions and combines all elements of acoustic and engineering design (certificate).
  • 1946 - Walter Wanger - For his six years service as President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (special plaque).
  • 1946 - Frank Ross , Mervyn LeRoy - The House I Live In - For tolerance short subject; produced by Frank Ross and Mervyn LeRoy; directed by Mervyn LeRoy; screenplay by Albert Maltz ; song "The House I Live In" music by Earl Robinson , lyrics by Lewis Allen; starring Frank Sinatra; released by RKO Radio.
  • 1947 - Ernst Lubitsch - For his distinguished contributions to the art of the motion picture (certificate).
  • 1947 - Harold Russell - For bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans through his appearance in The Best Years of Our Lives.
  • 1947 - Laurence Olivier - The Chronicle History of King Henry the Fift with his Battell at Agincourt in France - For his Outstanding achievement as actor, producer and director in bringing Henry V to the screen.
  • 1948 - William Nicholas Selig ; Albert E. Smith ; Thomas Armat; George K. Spoor - (One of) the small group of pioneers whose belief in a new medium, and whose contributions to its development, blazed the trail along which the motion picture has progressed, in their lifetime, from obscurity to world-wide acclaim.
  • 1948 - Bill and Coo - In which artistry and patience blended in a novel and entertaining use of the medium of motion pictures (plaque).
  • 1949 - Sciuscià - Italy. The high quality of this Italian-made motion picture, brought to eloquent life in a country scarred by war, is proof to the world that the creative spirit can triumph over adversity.
  • 1949 - James Baskett - For his able and heart-warming characterization of Uncle Remus, friend and story teller to the children of the world, in Walt Disney's Song of the South .
  • 1949 - Sid Grauman - Master showman, who raised the standard of exhibition of motion pictures.
  • 1949 - Adolph Zukor - A man who has been called the father of the feature film in America, for his services to the industry over a period of forty years.
  • 1949 - Walter Wanger - For distinguished service to the industry in adding to its moral stature in the world community by his production of the picture Joan of Arc .
  • 1949 - Monsieur Vincent - France. Voted by the Academy Board of Governors as the most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States during 1948.


  • 1950 - Fred Astaire - For his unique artistry and his contributions to the technique of musical pictures.
  • 1950 - Cecil B. DeMille - Distinguished motion picture pioneer for 37 years of brilliant showmanship.
  • 1950 - Jean Hersholt - For distinguished service to the motion picture industry.
  • 1950 - Ladri di biciclette - Italy. Voted by the Academy Board of Governors as the most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States during 1949.
  • 1951 - Louis B. Mayer - For distinguished service to the motion picture industry.
  • 1951 - George Murphy - For his services in interpreting the film industry to the country at large.
  • 1951 - Au-delà des grilles - France/Italy. Voted by the Board of Governors as the most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States in 1950.
  • 1952 - Gene Kelly - In appreciation of his versatility as an actor, singer, director and dancer, and specifically for his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film.
  • 1952 - Rashômon - Japan. Voted by the Board of Governors as the most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States during 1951.
  • 1953 - Merian C. Cooper - For his many innovations and contributions to the art of motion pictures.
  • 1953 - Bob Hope - For his contribution to the laughter of the world, his service to the motion picture industry, and his devotion to the American premise.
  • 1953 - Harold Lloyd - Master comedian and good citizen.
  • 1953 - George Alfred Mitchell - For the design and development of the camera which bears his name and for his continued and dominant presence in the field of cinematography.
  • 1953 - Joseph M. Schenck - For long and distinguished service to the motion picture industry.
  • 1953 - Jeux interdits - France. Best Foreign Language Film first released in the United States during 1952.
  • 1954 - 20th Century-Fox Film Corp. - In recognition of their imagination, showmanship and foresight in introducing the revolutionary process known as CinemaScope.
  • 1954 - Bell and Howell Co. - For their pioneering and basic achievements in the advancement of the motion picture industry.
  • 1954 - Joseph Breen - For his conscientious, open-minded and dignified management of the Motion Picture Production Code.
  • 1954 - Pete Smith - For his witty and pungent observations on the American scene in his series of "Pete Smith Specialties".
  • 1955 - Bausch & Lomb Optical Co. - For their contributions to the advancement of the motion picture industry.
  • 1955 - Greta Garbo - For her unforgettable screen performances.
  • 1955 - Danny Kaye - For his unique talents, his service to the Academy, the motion picture industry, and the American people.
  • 1955 - Kemp Niver - For the development of the Renovare Process which has made possible the restoration of the Library of Congress Paper Film Collection.
  • 1955 - Jon Whiteley - For his outstanding juvenile performance in The Little Kidnappers.
  • 1955 - Vincent Winter - For his outstanding performance in The Little Kidnappers (miniature statuette).
  • 1955 - Jigokumon - Japan. Best Foreign Language Film first released in the United States during 1954.
  • 1956 - Miyamoto Musashi Japan. Best Foreign Language Film first released in the United States during 1955.
  • 1957 - Eddie Cantor - For distinguished service to the film industry.
  • 1958 - Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers - For their contributions to the advancement of the motion picture industry.
  • 1958 - Broncho Billy Anderson - Motion picture pioneer, for his contributions to the development of motion pictures as entertainment.
  • 1959 - Charles Brackett - For outstanding service to the Academy.
  • 1959 - B. B. Kahane - For distinguished service to the motion picture industry.
  • 1959 - Maurice Chevalier - For his contributions to the world of entertainment for more than half a century.


  • 1960 - Lee De Forest - For his pioneering inventions which brought sound to the motion picture.
  • 1960 - Buster Keaton - For his unique talents which brought immortal comedies to the screen.
  • 1961 - Gary Cooper - For his many memorable screen performances and the international recognition he, as an individual, has gained for the motion picture industry.
  • 1961 - Stan Laurel - For his creative pioneering in the field of cinema comedy.
  • 1962 - Fred L. Metzler - For his dedication and outstanding service to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
  • 1962 - Jerome Robbins -For his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film.
  • 1962 - William L. Hendricks - For his outstanding patriotic service in the conception, writing and production of the Marine Corps film, A Force in Readiness , which has brought honor to the Academy and the motion picture industry.
  • 1963 - none
  • 1964 - none
  • 1965 - William Tuttle - For his outstanding make-up achievement for 7 Faces of Dr. Lao .
  • 1966 - Bob Hope - For unique and distinguished service to our industry and the Academy (gold medal).
  • 1967 - Yakima Canutt - For achievements as a stunt man and for developing safety devices to protect stunt men everywhere.
  • 1967 - Y. Frank Freeman - For unusual and outstanding service to the Academy during his thirty years in Hollywood.
  • 1968 - Arthur Freed - For distinguished service to the Academy and the production of six top-rated Awards telecasts.
  • 1969 - Onna White - For her outstanding choreography achievement for Oliver!.
  • 1969 - John Chambers - Planet of the Apes - For his outstanding make-up achievement in the movie.


  • 1970 - Cary Grant - For his unique mastery of the art of screen acting with the respect and affection of his colleagues.
  • 1971 - Lillian Gish - For superlative artistry and for distinguished contribution to the progress of motion pictures.
  • 1971 - Orson Welles - For superlative artistry and versatility in the creation of motion pictures.
  • 1972 - Charlie Chaplin - For the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century. - (received longest standing ovation in the history of the Awards)
  • 1973 - Charles S. Boren - Leader for 38 years of the industry's enlightened labor relations and architect of its policy of non-discrimination. With the respect and affection of all who work in films.
  • 1973 - Edward G. Robinson - Who achieved greatness as a player, a patron of the arts, and a dedicated citizen ... in sum, a Renaissance man. From his friends in the industry he loves.
  • 1974 - Henri Langlois - For his devotion to the art of film, his massive contributions in preserving its past and his unswerving faith in its future.
  • 1974 - Groucho Marx - In recognition of his brilliant creativity and for the unequaled achievements of the Marx Brothers in the art of motion picture comedy.
  • 1975 - Howard Hawks - A master American filmmaker whose creative efforts hold a distinguished place in world cinema.
  • 1975 - Jean Renoir - A genius who, with grace, responsibility and enviable devotion through silent film, sound film, feature, documentary and television has won the world's admiration.
  • 1976 - Mary Pickford - In recognition of her unique contributions to the film industry and the development of film as an artistic medium.
  • 1977 - none
  • 1978 - Margaret Booth - For her exceptional contribution to the art of film editing in the motion picture industry.
  • 1979 - Museum of Modern Art, Dept. of Film - For the contribution it has made to the public's perception of movies as an art form.
  • 1979 - Walter Lantz - For bringing joy and laughter to every part of the world through his unique animated motion pictures.
  • 1979 - Laurence Olivier - For the full body of his work, for the unique achievements of his entire career and his lifetime of contribution to the art of film.
  • 1979 - King Vidor - For his incomparable achievements as a cinematic creator and innovator.


  • 1980 - Hal Elias - For his dedication and distinguished service to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
  • 1980 - Alec Guinness - For advancing the art of screen acting through a host of memorable and distinguished performances.
  • 1981 - Henry Fonda - The consummate actor, in recognition of his brilliant accomplishments and enduring contribution to the art of motion pictures
  • 1982 - Barbara Stanwyck - For superlative creativity and unique contribution to the art of screen acting
  • 1983 - Mickey Rooney - In recognition of his 50 years of versatility in a variety of memorable film performances.
  • 1984 - Hal Roach - In recognition of his unparalleled record of distinguished contributions to the motion picture art form.
  • 1985 - The National Endowment for the Arts in recognition of its 20th anniversary and its dedicated commitment to fostering artistic and creative activity and excellence in every area of the arts.
  • 1985 - James Stewart - For his fifty years of memorable performances,, for his high ideals both on and off the screen, with respect and affection of his colleagues.
  • 1986 - Paul Newman - In recognition of his many and memorable and compelling screen performances and for his personal integrity and dedication to his craft.
  • 1986 - Alex North - In recognition of his brilliant artistry in the creation of memorable music for a host of distinguished motion pictures.
  • 1987 - Ralph Bellamy - For his unique artistry and his distinguished service to the profession of acting.
  • 1988 - none
  • 1989 - Eastman Kodak Co. - For 100 years of service and achievement.
  • 1989 - National Film Board of Canada - In recognition of its fiftieth anniversary and its dedicated commitment to originate artistic, creative and technological activity and excellence in every area of filmmaking.


  • 1990 - Akira Kurosawa - For cinematic accomplishments that have inspired, delighted, enriched and entertained worldwide audiences and influenced filmmakers throughout the world.
  • 1991 - Sophia Loren - For a career rich with memorable performances that has added permanent luster to our art form
  • 1991 - Myrna Loy - For her career achievement.
  • 1992 - Satyajit Ray - For his rare mastery of the art of motion pictures and for his profound humanitarian outlook, which has had an indelible influence on filmmakers and audiences throughout the world.
  • 1993 - Federico Fellini - In recognition of his cinematic accomplishments that have thrilled and entertained worldwide audiences.
  • 1994 - Deborah Kerr - An artist of impeccable grace and beauty, a dedicated actress whose motion picture career has always stood for perfection, discipline and elegance.
  • 1995 - Michelangelo Antonioni
  • 1996 - Kirk Douglas - For 50 years as a creative and moral force in the motion picture community.
  • 1996 - Chuck Jones - For the creation of classic cartoons and cartoon characters whose animated lives have brought joy to our real ones for more than a half century
  • 1997 - Michael Kidd - In recognition of his services to the art of the dance in the art of the screen
  • 1998 - Stanley Donen - In appreciation of a body of work marked by grace, elegance, wit and visual innovation
  • 1999 - Elia Kazan - In appreciation of a long, distinguished and unparalleled career during which he has influenced the very nature of filmmaking through his creation of cinematic masterpieces.


  • 2000 - Andrzej Wajda
  • 2001 - Jack Cardiff
  • 2001 - Ernest Lehman - In appreciation of a body of varied and enduring work
  • 2002 - Sidney Poitier - For his extraordinary performances and unique presence on the screen and for representing the industry with dignity, style and intelligence
  • 2002 - Robert Redford - Actor, director, producer, creator of Sundance, inspiration to independent and innovative filmmakers everywhere.
  • 2003 - Peter O'Toole - whose remarkable talents have provided cinema history with some of its most memorable characters.
  • 2004 - Blake Edwards - In recognition of his writing, directing and producing an extraordinary body of work for the screen
  • 2005 - Sidney Lumet
Last updated: 05-07-2005 12:09:37
Last updated: 05-07-2005 18:09:53