- The Washington Times - Monday, November 16, 2009

LOS ANGELES | Without the burden of a live worldwide broadcast, members of the film academy threw themselves a lively yet relaxed dinner party to honor the first Oscar winners of the season.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences broke with tradition and presented its honorary Oscars off-camera Saturday night, months ahead of the televised ceremony in March.

Actress Lauren Bacall, B-movie king Roger Corman and “Godfather” cinematographer Gordon Willis each received Oscar statuettes during the black-tie banquet at the Grand Ballroom above the Kodak Theatre.

In addition, producer John Calley was honored with the Irving J. Thalberg Memorial Award, recognizing career accomplishments that include “Catch-22,” “The Remains of the Day” and “The Da Vinci Code.”

Each of the recipients was chosen by the academy’s Board of Governors.

“We’re gathered here together, all artists, celebrating excellence without any television cameras — isn’t it great?” said veteran producer Norman Jewison.

Quentin Tarantino said Mr. Corman, 83, the man behind films such as “Bloody Mama” and “X: The Man With the X-Ray Eyes,” inspired him to become a filmmaker.

Anjelica Huston presented the award to the legendary actress Miss Bacall, saying she “defines what it means to be a great actress and also a huge movie star” and praising her “steadfastness, honesty and extraordinary beauty.”

The 85-year-old actress shooed away an escort who tried to help her to the podium to accept her Oscar. She said she did not expect to receive an Oscar but gratefully welcomed the honor.

“The thought when I get home that I’m going to have a two-legged man in my room is so exciting,” she quipped.

The Governors Awards were taped and portions will be shown during the 82nd annual Academy Awards on March 7.

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