Reprinted from Deadline Hollywood by Pete Hammond on October 28, 2019.
It was an historic night at the Governors Awards Sunday, and not just because Lina Wertmuller wants Oscar to go through a gender change.
91 year old Wertmuller was honored in part as a groundbreaker by being the first woman director Oscar nominated in that category. Geena Davis took the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for tirelessly promoting gender parity in media and movies through her foundation. Wes Studi became the first Native American ever to receive an Oscar. And David Lynch got his long deserved statuette for being, well, David Lynch. It was an eclectic but highly deserving group of honorees that clearly represented the ever-evolving and very fast pace of the Academy’s new face, one that emphasizes diversity and fighting for equality in membership with the still dominant numbers of white males. As new AMPAS President David Rubin said in his remarks, “that is changing.”
Rubin said these Governors Awards meant the kickoff of the awards season, and it came in October for the first time, two weeks earlier than previous years, but then again the Oscars on February 9th are two weeks earlier as well. These two events bookend the season. and it was a starry turnout as usual here with numerous possible contenders mingling at the pre- and post- receptions. Smartly though, the Academy was sure to keep the spotlight on these four honorees, not Oscar campaigns, by changing it up a bit and not interrupting the show for dinner which this time was quickly served as soon as guests sat down at 6pm. In the past the dinner hour meant lots of hobnobbing with no one actually sitting in their seats for long. Not this time. When I caught up with Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson afterwards they were both thrilled at the way the evening (impeccably produced again by Jennifer Fox and her team) went, pointing to the great speeches and tributes coming off without a hitch. …