From right to left, Kevin Brownlow, Francis Ford Coppola and Eli Wallach posing after the Governors Awards held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, 13 November 2010. From Reuters
Warm congratulations to Kevin Brownlow on his receipt last night of an honorary Academy Award for his work in documenting and preserving the films of the silent era.
Brownlow received his award alongside Francis Ford Coppola (receiving the Irving G. Thalberg Award) and actor Eli Wallach at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ annual annual Governors Awards ceremony. Jean-Luc Godard was also given an honorary award but declined to turn up. Hollywood luminaries such as Clint Eastwood, Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Oliver Stone, Kevin Spacey and Robert De Niro were in the audience. There are reports on BBC News, Reuters, Entertainment Weekly and the New York Times.
Coppola has gained the all the notices, but Brownlow’s achievement is the real headline news – for silent films, film preservation, the historiography of cinema, and for British cinema – and of course for himself. Kevin took the opportunity to lecture his audience on how American copyright laws had made his work more difficult, while also celebrating the artistry of the filmmakers who made Hollywood the cultural and commercial powerhouse that it remains.
If you are keen to find out more about Brownlow’s career as filmmaker, writer, programme maker and preservationist, I warmly recommend an interview with Brownlow conducted by Ann Harding in 2008, originally published in French but now re-published in English on her excellent blog, Ann Harding’s Treasures:
- Kevin Brownlow interview part 1 (on his early film and filmmaking experiences)
- Kevin Brownlow interview part 2 (on his love of French silents)
- Kevin Brownlow interview part 3 (on Abel Gance and Napoléon)
- Kevin Brownlow interview part 4 (on filming the TV series Hollywood)
- Kevin Brownlow interview part 5 (on D.W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille)
AMPAS has published videos of tributes paid to Kevin Brownlow and Kevin’s acceptance speech at the Governors Award ceremony:
- James Karen on Kevin Brownlow
- Lindsay Doran on Kevin Brownlow
- Kevin Spacey on Kevin Brownlow
- Kevin Brownlow’s acceptance speech
There’s also a biography with filmography and a ‘did you know’ on Kevin Brownlow on the AMPAS site.
Kevin Brownlow accepting his award, from oscars.org