David Lynch to receive an honorary Oscar

The trailblazing director had never previously won an Oscar

Academy Honorary Award David Lynch, photo by Heather Kaplan
David Lynch, photo by Heather Kaplan

    Toss a rock in a film classroom and you’re bound to hit someone who cites David Lynch as an influence. On paper and off, his work speaks for itself. Lynch has recked up three Academy Award nominations for Best Director (for The Elephant Man in 1980, Blue Velvet in 1986, and Mulholland Drive in 2001) and won countless awards elsewhere. He created the cult TV series Twin Peaks. He’s been labeled the “first popular Surrealist.” He’s created several solo albums. He’s written three books. He has, to put it bluntly, done it all.

    Despite all of this, though, David Lynch has never actually won an Oscar. That is until now. This afternoon, the Academy announced that David Lynch will be a recipient of the Academy Honorary Award this year. At the ripe age of 73, this marks his first Academy Award. The news arrives just months after his Oscar-nominated film Blue Velvet was announced as a Criterion Collection reissue with nearly an hour of deleted material.

    (Ranking: Every David Lynch Movie from Worst to Best)

    Cherokee actor Wes Studi and Italian screenwriter and director Lina Wertmüller will also be presented with Honorary Awards. American actress Geena Davis will receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. The four Oscar® statuettes will be presented at the Academy’s 11th Annual Governors Awards on Sunday, October 27, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom in Los Angeles.


    The Academy also shared the news through Twitter this afternoon. “These four filmmakers have transformed the film industry. This year, we celebrate them. #HonoraryOscars,” it reads. Find the full Tweet below.

    “These Governors Awards given by the Academy each year recognize individuals who have devoted themselves to a lifetime of artistic accomplishment and brought outstanding contributions to our industry, and beyond,” said Academy President John Bailey in the article announcing the winners. “It is with great pleasure that we announce this year’s recipients.”


    It’s only reasonable that the Academy Awards can’t always reward everyone deserving of said credit. That much is clear each year of the Oscars, so this award is a great way to make up for that. The list of previous winners of the Academy Honorary Award include Agnès Varda, Jackie Chan, Spike Lee, James Earl Jones, Jean-Luc Godard, Ennio Morricone, Robert Redford, Mickey Rooney, Groucho Marx, and Charlie Chaplin. Clearly Lynch and co. will be in good company.

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