Quincy Jones to Receive Honorary Oscar at Annual Governors Awards Event

Quincy Jones to Receive Honorary Oscar at Annual Governors Awards Event

Quincy Jones is set to receive an honorary Oscar at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ 15th Governors Awards on Sunday, Nov. 17, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Ovation Hollywood. This year’s other honorees, voted on by the Academy’s board of governors, are casting director Juliet Taylor; filmmaker and philanthropist Richard Curtis (the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award) and producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, best known for the James Bond franchise (the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award).


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“The recipients of this year’s Governors Awards have set the bar incredibly high across their remarkable careers, and the Academy’s board of governors is thrilled to recognize them with Oscars,” Academy president Janet Yang said in a statement. Of Jones, she added, “Quincy Jones’ artistic genius and relentless creativity have made him one of the most influential musical figures of all time.”

This is the second honorary Oscar for Jones, 91, who was voted the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1994. Jones accepted that award on the Oscar telecast in 1995 from his longtime friend Oprah Winfrey. He said in part, “This moment, this evening, this spot where I stand tonight was not my destination when I was young and full of vinegar. I did not engineer this journey. To tell you the truth, I don’t think I could even see this far. And now that I’m older and full of wonder, I can see that maybe other forces were at the wheel.”

Jones has received seven Oscar nominations, but has yet to win a competitive Oscar (which is the reason he is not officially an EGOT). Nonetheless, Jones has made Oscar history many times. He was the first Black musician to be hired as music director on the annual Oscar telecast.

In 1967, Jones became the first Black composer to receive an Oscar nomination for best original song for “The Eyes of Love” from Banning. (His collaborator, Bob Russell, was the first Black lyricist to be nominated.) That same year, Jones became only the third Black composer to be nominated in a scoring category, for In Cold Blood. (The first two Black composers to land scoring nods were Duke Ellington, for Paris Blues, and Calvin Jackson, for The Unsinkable Molly Brown).

Jones has received two more nods in scoring categories, for The Wiz (1978) and The Color Purple (1985). He has also received two more nods for best original song, for the title song from For Love of Ivy (which he also co-wrote with Russell) and “Miss Celie’s Blues (Sister)” from The Color Purple. Jones is, to this day, the only Black composer with three nods in scoring categories. He is one of two Black songwriters with three nods for best original song. (The other is Lionel Richie, one of his collaborators on “Miss Celie’s Blues (Sister).”)

Jones received a seventh Oscar nod as a producer of the 1985 film The Color Purple.

He has won all of the other major entertainment awards – 28 Grammys (spanning from 1964 to 2019), a Primetime Emmy (for composing music for the landmark 1977 miniseries Roots) and a Tony (for serving as a producer of the revival of The Color Purple in 2016).

Of the other honorees, Yang said: “The selection of Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli is a testament to their success as producers of the fan-favorite Bond series and their contribution to the industry’s theatrical landscape. Richard Curtis is a brilliant comedic storyteller whose tremendous charitable efforts embody the meaning of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. Juliet Taylor has cast iconic and beloved films and paved a new path for the field. Their profound love of cinema and indelible contribution to our art form make these five individuals truly deserving of these honors.”

Curtis’ film credits include Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Love Actually. He received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for Four Weddings and a Funeral. Curtis is the co-founder of Comic Relief U.K. and USA; his fundraising work over 40 years has helped raise more than $2 billion. In 2005, he co-created Make Poverty History and helped produce the Live 8 concerts. Most recently, he co-founded the group Project Everyone, giving practical support to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and established the ethical investment campaign Make My Money Matter.

Taylor is a prolific casting director who is behind some of the most acclaimed casts in film history. Some notable credits from her 50-year career include Taxi Driver, Annie Hall, Big, Sleepless in Seattle and Schindler’s List. She has worked with directors including James L. Brooks, Nora Ephron, Mike Nichols, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.

Wilson and Broccoli of EON Productions are producers of the James Bond film series. They have produced some of the most successful 007 films ever, including including Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre and No Time to Die. (The last-three named films all yielded Oscar winners for best original song, for Adele‘s “Skyfall,” Sam Smith‘s “Writing’s on the Wall” and Billie Eilish‘s “No Time to Die,” respectively.) Wilson and Broccoli are directors of the Broccoli Foundation, founded by Dana and Albert R. (Cubby) Broccoli to support the arts, medicine and education.  Cubby Broccoli received the Thalberg Award in 1981. Barbara Broccoli is the second woman to receive the Thalberg Award (following filmmaker Kathleen Kennedy in 2018).

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

The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award is given “to an individual in the motion picture arts and sciences whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry by promoting human welfare and contributing to rectifying inequities.”

The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award is presented to creative producers “whose body of work reflects a consistently high quality of motion picture production.”