Oprah Faces Backlash Over Honorary Oscar

Oprah Faces Backlash Over Honorary Oscar

Film critics question motive behind talk show host's award.

Published August 5, 2011

Not everyone is thrilled about the announcement that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would bestow Oprah Winfrey with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. The award is designed to praise an "individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.” Some film critics have argued, “What movies has she been in lately?”


New York Film Critics Circle chair John Anderson asked The Hollywood Reporter, "She's IN the motion picture industry?!" The Los Angeles Times wrote the decision was “boneheaded” and argued, "It seems like a shameless bid for a ratings boost—although once they start showing clips from Beloved and The Color Purple the numbers will plummet."


Longtime film critic Armond White joined in on the shade, adding, "Oprah means the same thing to Hollywood as past Hersholt Award winners—Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Lew Wasserman, Charlton Heston?!!" 


According to the National Enquirer, a few industry insiders believe the Academy is using the award to get Oprah to be charitable to the Academy.

 (Photo: Kristian Dowling/Picturegroup)

Written by Michael Arceneaux


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