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Academy to give John Calley, Lauren Bacall, Roger Corman and Gordon Willis honorary awards

September 11, 2009 | 11:12 am

John Calley, Lauren Bacall, Roger Corman and Gordon Willis will be this year’s recipients of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ testimonial awards.

The academy’s Board of Governors announced Thursday night that Calley will receive the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award and Bacall, Corman and Willis an Honorary Award.

Calley, born in 1930, is a Oscar-nominated producer of such films as “The Remains of the Day” and “Angels & Demons” as well as a studio executive. He was president and CEO of Sony Pictures Studios. Bacall, 84, made her film debut in 1944’s “To Have and Have Not” opposite Humphrey Bogart,  whom she married. She has appeared in such classics as “The Big Sleep,” “Key Largo” and “How to Marry a Millionaire.” She received a best supporting actress nomination for 1996’s “The Mirror Has Two Faces.” Corman, 83, has produced and directed low-budget motion pictures for the past 54 years, including “Swamp Woman” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” He’s also known for giving several Oscar-winning directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and Ron Howard their big breaks. Willis, 78, is a cinematographer who received Oscar nominations for 1983’s “Zelig” and 1990’s “The Godfather Part III.” He also did the cinematography for “Manhattan” as well as the first two “Godfather” films.

The Thalberg Award is given periodically to “creative producers, whose bodies of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion picture production.”

The award is named after the famed MGM producer of the 1920s and ’30s who died in 1936 at age 37. Darryl F. Zanuck won the first such award in 1938. Winners over the years have included Walt Disney, David O. Selznick, Alfred Hitchcock, Walter Mirisch, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Billy Wilder and Warren Beatty. Dino De Laurentiis earned the Thalberg the last time it was awarded eight years ago.

The Honorary Award given to an individual for “extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.”

 These awards have traditionally been handed out during the Oscar telecast but in June the academy’s board of directors decided to shake things up a bit and bestow the awards at a celebratory dinner on Nov. 14 in the Governor’s Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland.

Oscar-winning producer Bruce Cohen (“American Beauty”) will produce the black-tie event for about 500 invitees that will include film clips as well as remarks from the honorees’ colleagues and admirers. The recipients will also be acknowledged during the 82nd Academy Awards on March 7, 2010.

-- Susan King