I chime in every year on filmicability in regards to this yearly question, which these days is usually arrived at around the end of August. It was a bit controversial, the Academy's recent decision to fete the Honorary Oscar winners with the separate Autumnal ceremony prior to the February/March competitive Oscar show. But, in many ways, I kind of like how they're handling the Honorary Oscars now. Those moviemaking legends who're chosen get a warmer ceremony that doesn't try and rush the honorees off stage (and which internet-savvy fans can watch almost in full on the Academy's website). And they still get to be a substantial part of the wider-seen Oscar party come the new year. Best of all, this allows the Academy to hand out three or four Honorary Oscars per year, since eating up time on the rilly big shoo isn't an issue anymore. This also frees up the Academy to be more adventurous in their choices. In the end, I'd much rather see more artists deserving of the award actually receiving it, regardless of whether they can be seen getting it on television. TV exposure is beside the point; these people who've given their lives to the filmmaking art deserve recognition. If it means we need to trade off TV time for the opportunity for three or four artists a year to receive their due, then I think this is fair.
In the years since this blog has existed, I have posted two articles trying to predict the winners of this award: here in 2008 and here in 2010. Each time, I have been able to predict at least one of the winners. Robert Altman, Sidney Lumet, Ennio Morricone, Roger Corman, Lauren Bacall, Jerry Lewis, Jean-Luc Godard, and Gordon Willis have all been on my wish lists, and all have garnered their Oscar (or Hersholt, or Thalberg awards).
So, this Spring, I choose to highlight just ten more names to add to the ones I've already stated should be considered for Honorary Oscars. Just in case you haven't clicked over to my previous choices are (and these are the ones who haven't been chosen yet): Frederick Wiseman, Albert Maysles, Liv Ullmann, Max Von Sydow, James Ivory, David Lynch, Werner Herzog, Peter Bogdonovich, Albert Finney, Kyle Cooper, Burt Reynolds, and Woody Allen. Here are my 10 choices for this year, in no preferential order:
For the Thalberg award (which goes to producers alone), I'd go for either the Weinsteins, Scott Rudin, Lawrence Bender, or Ted Hope. For the Jean Hersholt Award, for humanitarian effort, I'd nominate George Clooney, Sean Penn, or Angelina Jolie.