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Oprah, James Earl Jones to receive honorary Oscars

The Associated Press, Saturday, November 12, 2011, 10:40am (PST)

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The first Academy Awards of the season will be presented Saturday night, capping a tumultuous week that saw the abrupt departure and rapid replacement of the Oscar show producer and host.

James Earl Jones and makeup artist Dick Smith will receive honorary Oscars for their long film careers, and Oprah Winfrey will accept the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' third annual Governors Awards.

Search: More on the recent Oscars flap

Presentation of the honorary Oscars at a black-tie dinner at the Kodak Theatre complex, where the Academy Awards will be held Feb. 26, follows this week's replacement of Oscar show producer Brett Ratner and host Eddie Murphy with Hollywood veterans Brian Grazer and Billy Crystal.

Winfrey's Hersholt award honors her philanthropic and humanitarian contributions, including her own namesake foundations and Academy for Girls in South Africa. The 57-year-old media mogul was nominated for a supporting actress Oscar for 1985's "The Color Purple."

Jones and Smith will receive honorary Oscars for their outstanding careers.

Jones, 80, has worked in more than 50 films, including the voice of Darth Vader, and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1971 for "The Great White Hope." His other credits include "Field of Dreams," "Patriot Games" and "The Hunt for Red October."

Smith was NBC's first makeup man when he started his career in 1945. He won an Oscar in 1984 for his work on "Amadeus" and was nominated again in 1989 for "Dad." Known as the "godfather of makeup," he also worked on "The Godfather," "The Exorcist" and "Taxi Driver." Smith also helped train many of today's top movie makeup artists.

The film academy launched its Governors Awards three years ago to pay tribute to winners of honorary Oscars — prizes previously presented during the Academy Awards telecast. Governors from its 15 branches chose Saturday's winners.

Highlights from the untelevised event will be available online at Oscars.org and included in the Academy Awards telecast in February.

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