Actor Jackie Chan, who is known for his martial arts and action films in Hollywood, will receive a lifetime achievement Oscar as announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on 1 September (Thursday). Besides the 62-year-old actor, documentary maker Frederick Wiseman, British film editor Anne V. Coates and casting director Lynn Stalmaster will also receive the 2016 Governors Awards to be held on 12 November this year.
The Academy’s 54-member board, which represents about 7,000 members, picked the recipients through ballot on Tuesday night. Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy’s president, called the four honorees “true pioneers and legends in their craft“.
Having debuted in cinema at the age of eight, Chan went on to star in – and sometimes wrote, directed and produced – more than 30 martial arts features in his home-country Hong Kong, coupled with his athleticism and acrobatic flying style of fighting. He worked as a stuntman in Bruce Lee’s films Fist Of Fury (1972) and Enter The Dragon (1973). Chan’s first major breakthrough was the Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow in 1978. Director Yuen Woo-ping had allowed him complete freedom over his stunt work. Chan then starred in Drunken Master, which finally established his triumph in mainstream films.
Chan forayed into the American film industry in the 1980s. His first Hollywood film was The Big Brawl in 1980. He later on played a minor role in The Cannonball Run (1981), which grossed $100 million worldwide. Despite being pitted against established American actors like Burt Reynolds, Chan was impressed by the outtakes shown at the closing credits, inspiring him to include the same device in his future films.
While there had been times he had considered going back to acting in Hong Kong, owing to a failed American film, Chan continued trying his luck in Hollywood, eventually succeeding. Since Rumble in the Bronx in 1996, he has gone on to enormous worldwide success with the Rush Hour films, Shanghai Noon, Shanghai Knights, Around the World in 80 Days, The Karate Kid, and voice work in the Kung Fu Panda series of animated films. In August this year, he was ranked the second-highest paid actor in the world by Forbes with estimated 2016 earnings of $61 million, just below Fast and Furious star Dwayne Johnson. In spite of his success, Chan had never won an Oscar.
Meanwhile, the Academy’s list of honorary Oscars this year comes with a tinge of diversity that had been missing for a few years now. After being criticised for honouring only Caucasian actors in the Oscars last year, dissing actors of other diversities, a social media campaign was launched with the hashtags #HollywoodWhiteWashed and #WhiteWashedOut, objecting to this and Asian characters played by top Hollywood White actors.
The Governors Awards are dubbed noncompetitive. According to the New York Times, this year, more than 100 people were put forward as potential honorary Oscar recipients. Although there were candidates for two other honorary Oscars – one for philanthropy and another for producing – the academy chose not to confer these prizes this year. The gala of this years Governors Awards will take place in Los Angeles.
Feature Image Credit: JackieChan.com