487 readers

And The (Honorary) Academy Award Goes To ...

Updated September 19, 2020 191 items

All honorary Oscar recipients have achieved the ultimate recognition in Hollywood. From the first ceremony in 1929, the Academy has handed out honorary Oscars to cinematic luminaries and companies whose achievements were too great to ignore.

Among the first honorary Oscar winners were two of the most famous figures in film history, Charlie Chaplin and Walt Disney, who won honorary Oscars for creating Mickey Mouse and producing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In addition to people, companies like Warner Bros. Entertainment and Technicolor can also be included on the list of those to receive an Academy honorary award.

Perhaps the most prestigious award is the Oscar lifetime achievement award, celebrating the entire body of work prodcued by an individual. Among the winners of the lifetime achievement Oscar are Chaplin, Orson Welles, and Gary Cooper.

So spend some time checking out every honorary Academy Award winner and remembering their tremendous achievements.

  • 191
    Lina Wertmüller

    2019: "When you meet her, you understand immediately you are in the presence of incredible talent."

  • 190
    Wes Studi

    2019: "For all Wes's practical skill with words it's still how he uses them that makes him such a brilliant actor."

  • 189
    David Lynch

    2019: "You have to let his quiet guide you. Simply put, you can tell what he likes and doesn't like just by looking at him."

    More David Lynch 

    The Best Characters In David Lynch Movies26 David Lynch Memes You'll Only Appreciate If You Like David Lynch

  • 188
    Cicely Tyson

    2018: "whose unforgettable performances and personal integrity have inspired generations of filmmakers, actors and audiences"

    More Cicely Tyson 

    #243 of 348 The Best American Actresses Working Today#897 of 1,883 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

  • 187
    Lalo Schifrin

    Lalo Schifrin

    2018: "in recognition of his unique musical style, compositional integrity and influential contributions to the art of film scoring"


    #171 of 225 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters#76 of 164 The Greatest Jazz Pianists of All Time

  • 186
    Agnès Varda

    2017: "her compassion and curiosity inform a uniquely personal cinema"

  • 185
    Donald Sutherland

    2017: "for a lifetime of indelible characters, rendered with unwavering truthfulness"

    More Donald Sutherland 

    The Best Donald Sutherland Movies#88 of 273 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today

  • 184
    Owen Roizman

    2017: "his expansive visual style and technical innovation have advanced the art of cinematography"

  • 183
    Charles Burnett

    2017: "a resolutely independent and influential film pioneer who has chronicled the lives of black Americans with eloquence and insight"

  • 182
    Frederick Wiseman

    2016: "Wiseman has made one film almost every year since 1967, illuminating lives in the context of social, cultural and government institutions"

  • 181
    Anne V. Coates

    2016: "in her more than 60 years as a film editor, she has worked side by side with many leading directors on an impressive range of films"

  • 180
    Lynn Stalmaster

    2016: "over five decades, he applied his talents to more than 200 feature films... and has been instrumental in the careers of celebrated actors"

  • 179
    Jackie Chan

    2016: "Chan starred in – and sometimes wrote, directed and produced – more than 30 martial arts features in his native Hong Kong, charming audiences with his dazzling athleticism, inventive stunt work and boundless charisma."

    More Jackie Chan 

    The Best Jackie Chan Movies of All TimeInside Jackie Chan's Storied Life And Career

  • 178
    Gena Rowlands

    2015: "an original talent whose devotion to her craft has earned her worldwide recognition as an independent film icon"

  • 177
    Spike Lee

    2015: "a champion of independent film and an inspiration to young filmmakers"

    More Spike Lee 

    #100 of 743 The Greatest Directors In Movie History#81 of 248 The Greatest Living Directors, Ranked

  • 176
    Maureen O'Hara

    2014: "One of Hollywood's brightest stars, whose inspiring performances glowed with passion, warmth and strength."

  • 175
    Hayao Miyazaki

    2014: "has deeply influenced animation forever, inspiring generations of artists to work in our medium and illuminate its limitless potential..."

  • 174
    Jean-Claude Carrière

    2014: "To Jean-Claude Carrière, whose elegantly crafted screenplays elevate the art of screenwriting to the level of literature."

  • 173
    Piero Tosi

    2013: "a visionary whose incomparable costume designs shaped timeless, living art in motion pictures."

  • 172
    Steve Martin

    2013: "in recognition of his extraordinary talents and the unique inspiration he has brought to the art of motion pictures."

    More Steve Martin 

    The Best Steve Martin Movies of All Time, Ranked#26 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

  • 171
    Angela Lansbury

    2013: "an entertainment icon who has created some of cinema's most memorable characters, inspiring generations of actors."

    More Angela Lansbury 

    #58 of 843 The Best Actresses in Film History#8 of 185 The Greatest Actresses Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)

  • 170
    George Stevens Jr.

    2012: "A tireless champion of the arts in America and especially that most American of arts: the Hollywood film"

  • 169
    Hal Needham

    2012: "A pioneer in improving stunt technology and safety procedures..."

  • 168
    D. A. Pennebaker

    2012: "..[H]as inspired generations of filmmakers with his "you are here" style. He is considered one of the founders of the cinéma vérité movement..."

  • 167
    Dick Smith

    2011: "for his unparalleled mastery of texture, shade, form and illusion"