The First Oscar Goes To…

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It was announced today that director-producer-writer Robert Altman has been voted an Honorary Award by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Award, an Oscar® statuette, will be presented at the 78th Academy Awards® Presentation on March 5, 2006, but it has already been added to the RopeofSilicon database as the first Oscar for 2006. The Honorary Award will be given to Altman to honor “a career that has repeatedly reinvented the art form and inspired filmmakers and audiences alike.”

Altman has received five Academy Award nominations for directing — for M*A*S*H, Nashville, The Player, Short Cuts and Gosford Park — as well as two additional nominations as a producer of Best Picture nominees Nashville and Gosford Park — but has never taken home the Oscar.

He has directed 86 films, produced 39 and written 37 of them.

“The board was taken with Altman’s innovation, his redefinition of genres, his invention of new ways of using the film medium and his reinvigoration of old ones,” said Academy President Sid Ganis. “He is a master film maker and well deserves this honor.”

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Altman began his film career working there on documentary, employee training, industrial and educational films. While there, he made his first feature film in 1957, The Delinquents, a low budget exploitation film which was distributed by United Artists. He moved to Hollywood and found work directing episodes of television series such as “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “Bonanza.” In 1969 he was offered the script of M*A*S*H, the success of which galvanized his feature film career.

Altman’s films include such additional titles as McCabe and Mrs. Miller, The Long Goodbye, Thieves Like Us, Popeye and Prêt-à-Porter. His current film, A Prairie Home Companion is in post-production.

Altman’s Honorary Oscar will be presented, along with other Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2005, on Sunday, March 5, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland®. The Oscars® will be televised live by the ABC Television Network beginning at 5:00 p.m. PST (8 p.m. EST).

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