OSCAR HISTORY: Honorary / Special Award Recipients

Perhaps the most well known and frequently given special award by the Academy are the honorary or special Academy Awards voted on by the Board of Governors to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy. It's the opportunity to recognize a film artist near the end of their life who has contributed immeasurably to the art of cinema, or to right wrongs for artists who never got the chance to win a competitive Oscar. Here are all the honorary and special award recipients over the years ...

2023: Angela Bassett / Mel Brooks / Carol Littleton     (View Acceptance Speech)
2022: Euzhan Palcy / Diane Warren / Peter Weir     (View Acceptance Speech)
2021: Samuel L. Jackson / Elaine May / Liv Ullmann     (View Acceptance Speech)
2019: Lina Wertmüller / Wes Studi / David Lynch     (View Awards Moment)
2018: Cicely Tyson / Lalo Schifrin / Marvin Levy     (View Awards Moment)
2017: Charles Burnett / Owen Roizman / Donald Sutherland / Agnes Varda     (View Awards Moment)
2016: Jackie Chan / Anne V. Coates / Lynn Stalmaster / Frederick Wiseman     (View Awards Moment)
2015: Spike Lee / Gena Rowlands     (View Awards Moment)
2014: Maureen O'Hara / Hayao Miyazaki / Jean-Claude Carrière     (View Awards Moment)
2013: Angela Lansbury / Steve Martin / Piero Tosi     (View Awards Moment)
2012: Hal Needham / D.A. Pennebaker / George Stevens, Jr.     (View Awards Moment)
2011: James Earl Jones / Dick Smith     (View Awards Moment)
2010: Kevin Brownlow / Jean-Luc Godard / Eli Wallach     (View Awards Moment)
2009: Lauren Bacall / Roger Corman / Gordon Willis     (View Awards Moment)
2007: Robert Boyle    
2006: Ennio Morricone     (View Oscar Moment)
2005: Robert Altman     (View Oscar Moment)
2004: Sidney Lumet     (View Oscar Moment)
2003: Blake Edwards     (View Oscar Moment)
2002: Peter O'Toole     (View Oscar Moment)
2001: Sidney Poitier / Robert Redford     (View Oscar Moment)
2000: Ernest Lehman / Jack Cardiff     (View Oscar Moment)
1999: Andrzej Wajda     (View Oscar Moment)
1998: Elia Kazan     (View Oscar Moment)
1997: Stanley Donen     (View Oscar Moment)
1996: Michael Kidd     (View Oscar Moment)
1995: Kirk Douglas / Chuck Jones / Special Achievement Award to John Lasseter for TOY STORY     (View Oscar Moment)
1994: Michelangelo Antonioni / John A. Bonner     (View Oscar Moment)
1993: Deborah Kerr     (View Oscar Moment)
1992: Federico Fellini / Petro Vlahos     (View Oscar Moment)
1991: Satyajit Ray / YCM Laboratories / Richard J. Stumpf & Joseph Westheimer     (View Oscar Moment)
1990: Sophia Loren / Mryna Loy / Roderick T. Ryan, Don Trumbull, & Geoffrey H. Williamson     (View Oscar Moment)
1989: Akira Kurosawa     (View Oscar Moment)
1988: National Film Board of Canada / Eastman Kodak Company / Special Achievement for Animation Direction to WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT     (View Oscar Moment)
1987: Special Achievement for Sound Effects Editing to ROBOCOP     (View Film Clip)
1986: Ralph Bellamy / E.M. (Al) Lewis    
1985: Paul Newman / Alex North / John H. Whitney, Sr.     (View Oscar Moment)
1984: James Stewart / National Endowment for the Arts / Special Achievement for Sound Effects Editing to THE RIVER     (View Oscar Moment)
1983: Hal Roach / Special Achievement for Visual Effects to RETURN OF THE JEDI     (View Oscar Moment)
1982: Mickey Rooney     (View Oscar Moment)
1981: Barbara Stanwyck / Special Achievement for Sound Effects Editing to RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK     (View Oscar Moment)
1980: Henry Fonda / Fred Hynes / Special Achievement for Visual Effects to THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK     (View Oscar Moment)
1979: Alec Guinness / Hal Elias / John O. Aalberg, Charles G. Clarke, & John G. Frayne / Special Achievement for Sound Editing to THE BLACK STALLION     (View Oscar Moment)
1978: Walter Lantz / The Museum of Modern Art, Department of Film / Laurence Olivier / King Vidor / Linwood G. Dunn, Loren L. Ryder, & Waldon O. Watson / Special Achievement for Visual Effects to SUPERMAN     (View Oscar Moment)
1977: Margeret Booth / Gordon E. Sawyer and Sidney P. Solow / Special Achievement for Sound Effects Editing to CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND / Special Achievement for Sound Effects Creation to STAR WARS     (View Oscar Moment)
1976: Special Achievement for Visual Effects to two films, KING KONG and LOGAN'S RUN     (View Oscar Moment)
1975: Mary Pickford / Special Achievement for Sound Effects to THE HINDENBURG / Special Achievement for Visual Effects to THE HINDENBURG     (View Oscar Moment)
1974: Howard Hawks / Jean Renoir / Special Achievement for Visual Effects to EARTHQUAKE     (View Oscar Moment)
1973: Henri Langlois / Groucho Marx     (View Oscar Moment)
1972: Charles Boren, leader of labor relations in industry / Edward G. Robinson / Special Achievement for Visual Effects to THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE     (View Oscar Moment)
1971: Charles Chaplin     (View Oscar Moment)
1970: Lillian Gish / Orson Welles     (View Oscar Moment)
1969: Cary Grant     (View Oscar Moment)
1968: John Chambers, for outstanding makeup achievement for PLANET OF THE APES / Onna White for outstanding choreography for OLIVER!     (View Oscar Moment)
1967: Arthur Freed     (View Oscar Moment)
1966: Y. Frank Freeman / Yakima Canutt, for outstanding achievements as a stunt man and developing safety devices for stunt men     (View Oscar Moment)
1965: Bob Hope     (View Oscar Moment)
1964: William Tuttle, for outstanding makeup achievement for 7 FACES OF DR. LAO     (View Oscar Moment)
1963: None given    
1962: None given    
1961: William L. Hendricks for Marine Corps film A FORCE IN READINESS / Fred L. Metzler / Jerome Robbins     (View Film)
1960: Gary Cooper / Stan Laurel / Hayley Mills for POLLYANNA, outstanding juvenile performance of 1960     (View Oscar Moment)
1959: Lee De Forest, for pioneering inventions in bringing sound to film / Buster Keaton    
1958: Maurice Chevalier     (View Oscar Moment)
1957: Charles Brackett / B.B. Kahane / Gilbert M. "Broncho Billy" Anderson / The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers    
1956: Eddie Cantor     (View Oscar Moment)
1955: SAMURAI, Best Foreign Language Film from 1955     (View Oscar Moment)
1954: Bausch & Lomb Optical Company / Kemp R. Niver for Renovare Process / Greta Garbo / Danny Kaye / Jon Whiteley for outstanding juvenile performance / Vincent Winter for outstanding performance in THE LITTLE KIDNAPPERS / GATE OF HELL, from Japan, Best Foreign Language film for 1954     (View Oscar Moment)
1953: Pete Smith / 20th Century Fox Film Corporation for revolutionary new process CinemaScope / Joseph I. Breen for management of the Motion Picture Code / Bell and Howell Company    
1952: George Alfred Mitchell for his camera and works in cinematography / Joseph M. Schenck / Merian C. Cooper / Harold Lloyd / Bob Hope / FORBIDDEN GAMES, from France, outstanding foreign language film of 1952     (View Oscar Moment)
1951: Gene Kelly / RASHOMON, from Japan, outstanding foreign language film of 1951     (View Oscar Moment)
1950: George Murphy for interpreting film industry to country at large / Louis B. Mayer / THE WALLS OF MALAPAGA, Franco-Italian, outstanding foreign language film of 1950    
1949: THE BICYCLE THIEF, from Italy, outstanding foreign language film of 1949 / Bobby Driscoll, outstanding juvenile actor of 1949 / Fred Astaire / Cecil B. DeMille / Jean Hersholt     (View Oscar Moment)
1948: MONSIEUR VINCENT, from France, outstanding foreign language film of 1948 / Ivan Jandl, outstanding juvenile performance of 1948 / Sid Grauman / Adolph Zukor / Walter Wanger for production of JOAN OF ARC     (View Oscar Moments)
1947: James Baskett for his role as Uncle Remus in SONG OF THE SOUTH / BILL AND COO / SHOE-SHINE, Italian motion picture / Colonel William N. Selig, Albert E. Smith, Thomas Armat, and George K. Spoor, group of film pioneers     (View Oscar Moments)
1946: Laurence Olivier for acting in, producing, and directing HENRY V / Harold Russell for BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES / Ernst Lubitsch / Claude Jarman, Jr., outstanding child actor of 1946    
1945: Walter Wanger for six years service as President of the Academy / Peggy Ann Garner, outstanding child actress of 1945 / THE HOUSE I LIVE IN, a tolerance short subject / Republic Studio, Daniel J. Bloomberg, and Republic Sound Department for its building of a new state of the art musical scoring auditorium    
1944: Margaret O'Brien, outstanding child actress of 1944 / Bob Hope for his many services to the Academy     (View Newsreel)
1943: George Pal    
1942: Charles Boyer for the French Research Foundation / Noel Coward for IN WHICH WE SERVE / MGM Studio for the Andy Hardy film series    
1941: Rey Scott for achievement of producing KUKAN, a film record of China's struggles / The British Ministry of Information for the documentary TARGET FOR TONIGHT / Leopold Stokowski for his musical achievement in Disney's FANTASIA / Walt Disney and sound technicians, as well as the RCA Manufacturing Company for their advancements in sound for the making of FANTASIA    
1940: Bob Hope / Colonel Nathan Levinson for contributions to Army training films    
1939: Douglas Fairbanks / Motion Picture Relief Fund / Judy Garland for juvenile performance in WIZARD OF OZ / William Cameron Menzies for color achievement in GONE WITH THE WIND / Technicolor Company for successfully bringing three-color feature production to the screen     (View Oscar Moment)
1938: Deanna Durbin & Mickey Rooney for their youthful success / Harry M. Warner for historical short subjects / Walt Disney for his achievement with Snow White / Oliver Marsh & Allen Davey for color cinematography of SWEETHEARTS / Special effects award for SPAWN OF THE NORTH / J. Arthur Ball for color motion picture photography innovations     (View Oscar Moment)
1937: Mack Sennett / Edgar Bergen for his creation of Charlie McCarthy / The Museum of Modern Art Film Library / W. Howard Greene for the color photography in A STAR IS BORN    
1936: MARCH OF TIME for revolution of the newsreel and contributions to motion pictures / W. Howard Greene and Harold Rosson for the color cinematography on THE GARDEN OF ALLAH    
1935: D.W. Griffith    
1934: Shirley Temple    
1932 / 33: None given    
1931 / 32: To Walt Disney for the creation of Mickey Mouse    
1930 / 31: None given    
1929 / 30: None given    
1928 / 29: None given    
1927 / 28: Warner Bros. for producing THE JAZZ SINGER / Charles Chaplin for acting, writing, directing, and producing THE CIRCUS     (View Film Clip)