Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 5 March 2015

Redgrave to receive Academy honour

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is to honour Vanessa Redgrave
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is to honour Vanessa Redgrave

Decades after a provocative Oscar acceptance speech, Vanessa Redgrave will be honoured at the film academy's first European tribute to an actor.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences says it will honour Redgrave on Sunday in London, where she is starring with James Earl Jones in the stage production of Driving Miss Daisy.

Jones is to receive an honorary Oscar on Saturday at the academy's Governors Awards, but the 80-year-old actor is skipping that ceremony in Los Angeles to continue the play's run without interruption.

He plans to participate by video in the Governors Awards, where veteran make-up artist Dick Smith is also receiving an honorary Academy Award for his distinguished career in film, and Oprah Winfrey will be presented with the academy's humanitarian award.

The academy will honour Redgrave for her five decades in film. The 74-year-old actress has been nominated for six Academy Awards and won for her supporting role in 1977's Julia, playing an anti-Nazi activist murdered by the Germans.

Redgrave's win for Julia led to one of the most startling moments in Oscar history. The Jewish Defence League had objected to her nomination and picketed the ceremony because Redgrave had narrated and helped fund a documentary, The Palestinian, which supported a Palestinian state.

In her acceptance speech, Redgrave praised the academy for not being intimated by "a small bunch of Zionist hoodlums whose behaviour is an insult to the stature of Jews all over the world and their great and heroic record of struggle against fascism and oppression."

Her comments were met by gasps, boos and growing applause.

Redgrave and Jones played Miss Daisy and her loyal chauffeur Hoke on Broadway before the production moved to London.

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