Harry Belafonte to receive honorary humanitarian Oscar

AFP Relax News
Harry Belafonte

Oscar organizers announced Thursday they will give a prestigious humanitarian award to US actor-producer-singer Harry Belafonte, whose work as an activist has helped shed light on racism and inequality.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also announced honorary lifetime awards for Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki, French screenwriter/actor Jean-Claude Carriere and Irish actress Maureen O'Hara.

The Academy's Board of Governors voted on the awards on Tuesday. They will be presented at the body's 6th annual Governors Awards on November 8 in Hollywood.

Belafonte will get the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award while Miyazaki, Carriere and O'Hara will receive Governors Awards.

"We're absolutely thrilled to honor these outstanding members of our global filmmaking community and look forward to celebrating with them in November," said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

"The Governors Awards allow us to reflect upon not the year in film, but the achievements of a lifetime," she added.

Miyazaki, an artist, writer, director and producer, was nominated three times in the Academy's animated feature category, which he won in 2002 for "Spirited Away."

As a writer Carriere worked with iconic directors including Luis Bunuel, Volker Schloendorff, Jean-Luc Godard and Andrzej Wajda.

He shared a screenwriting Oscar for the action short "Heureux Anniversaire (Happy Anniversary") in 1962.

O'Hara starred in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1939) at the start of a long and wide-ranging career with films including drama "This Land Is Mine," family classic "The Parent Trap" and spy comedy "Our Man in Havana."

She was also in numerous westerns as a favorite of director John Ford.

When away from the spotlight, Belafonte, 87, spent much of his life campaigning for various causes such as education, famine relief, children, AIDS awareness and civil rights.

His films such as "Carmen Jones," "Odds against Tomorrow" and "The World, the Flesh and the Devil" helped portray the injustices of racism and inequality.

He was an early supporter of the Civil Rights Movement and marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr in his heyday. He was also named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1987.