Kevin Brownlow honoured

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:

AMPAS has published videos of tributes paid to Kevin Brownlow and Kevin’s acceptance speech at the Governors Award ceremony:

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

9 responses

  1. It’s wonderful to see that Kevin Brownlow has received the honor he deserves. Thanks a lot for mentioning the interview. The last part (about Griffith & DeMille) will be on tomorrow.

  2. Thank you for sharing the information, particularly the interview from Ann Harding. I’m half way through.

    This was a well-deserved tribute to Kevin Brownlow. I hope they will at least mention him and Coppola and Eli Wallach on the main Oscar show.

  3. Seeing Kevin Brownlow with an Oscar in his hands just makes the world feel like a better and more reasonable place. I’m surprised he managed to resist the urge to use his statuette to render Francis Ford Coppola a severe cranial disservice for what he did to Napoleon.

    I’ll look forward to reading this interview soon.

  4. Though he refrained from braining FFC with a well-aimed statuette (I have lifted one – they’re heavy), his speech is a touch edgier than you usually hear on these occasions. He certainly decided not to try and win them over with flattery.

  5. Pingback: Looking back on 2010 « The Bioscope

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