In 2009 the Board of Governors voted to establish an annual event at which it will present its testimonial awards: the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and the Honorary Award. Honorees are selected and announced each summer and presented their awards at a celebratory dinner event. They also are acknowledged at the next Academy Awards ceremony.
The Governors Awards were established to balance the desire to truly honor worthy individuals and avoid the time limitations that the Oscar telecast imposes on these honors. By creating a separate event for recognizing these outstanding people in the movie industry, we’re ensuring that each honoree will be given their due without compromise.
The Academy’s Board holds a special meeting in June to select the year’s honorees. There will not be more than one Hersholt nor more than one Thalberg Award voted in any given year. No more than four testimonial awards will be given in a single year. We enlist the help of Academy members in recommending each year’s honorees.
The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award
Presented to a creative producer whose body of work reflects a consistently high quality of motion picture production.
The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award (Oscar statuette)
Given to an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.
The Honorary Award (Oscar statuette)
Given for extraordinary lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the motion picture arts and sciences, or outstanding service to the Academy.
Governors Awards cannot be voted posthumously, and no current Academy governor is eligible to receive an award.