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Academy shifting testimonial awards to November

MUMBAI: In a move that will further alter the shape of the annual Oscar broadcast, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that it is moving its testimonial awards to another event to be held in November.

Academy honours -- like the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award (which recognizes producers), the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and Honorary Awards - had traditionally been given out during the Oscar telecast.


Moving forward, they will be handed out instead at a new, black-tie dinner event for about 500 invitees, which will include film clips as well as remarks from the honorees‘ colleagues.


The Academy‘s board of governors approved the change Tuesday night at its monthly meeting, where it also approved the idea of nominating 10, rather than five, movies for best picture.


In previous years, the honorees were chosen in December. Under the new process, they will now be selected by the board of governors in September.


While the Academy said the honorees will also be acknowledged during the broadcast, presumably the show will not spend as much time highlighting their careers -- which, in turn, would make room for shifting the spotlight to the bigger list of best picture nominees.


"For some years now, the board has struggled to balance the desire to truly honor worthy individuals with the time limitations that the Oscar telecast imposes on these honours," Academy president Sid Ganis said while announcing the change.


"By creating a separate event for recognising these outstanding people in the movie industry, we‘re ensuring that each honoree will be given his or her full due, without compromise."


While the move may have the effect of streamlining the Oscar show a bit, it also could lead to the loss of some of the emotional highlights such as the Honorary Award presentation to Sidney Poitier in 2002, which led to Denzel Washington‘s heartfelt salute to Poitier when Washington accepted his best actor trophy for Training Day.


Other recent recipients of the awards were Jerry Lewis who was presented with the Hersholt Award last February, art director Robert Boyle who received an Honorary Award in 2008 and Dino De Laurentiis, who was honoured with the Thalberg Award in 2001.

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