Amid concerns that Jean-Luc Godard may harbor anti-Semitic views, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is moving forward with plans to honor the filmmaker at its second annual Governors Awards.
Godard is to be honored alongside film historian and preservationist Kevin Brownlow, director-producer Francis Ford Coppola and actor Eli Wallach at a private ceremony on Nov. 13.
Though the academy has received some complaints about Godard being selected to receive an honorary Oscar this year, academy President Tom Sherak said the 79-year-old French-born director is being recognized solely for his artistic contributions.
"The academy is a purist kind of organization," Sherak said in an interview Tuesday. "The award was given to him for his contributions to film in the New Wave era. It didn’t look at his overall life."
"The academy has given awards to other people who have not had all stellar lifestyles," Sherak added.
The Jewish Journal and The New York Times have published stories questioning Godard’s feelings about Jews, citing examples in his films and in books about him that could be interpreted as anti-Semitic.
Former academy President Sid Ganis, who is producing the Governors Awards, said the recent reports and ensuing complaints haven’t affected his approach to the event.
"The task is clear, and it is about honoring him for his art," Ganis said, calling Godard "one of the great poets of cinema."
Still, Ganis said, "no possibility of any kind of anti-Semitism is tolerated, artist or no artist."
Godard said last month that he does not plan to attend the ceremony, which is held at the Hollywood & Highland complex adjacent to the Kodak Theatre.
The Governors Awards were established last year as a private ceremony to pay tribute to recipients of honorary Oscars and the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award — prizes that were previously presented during the Academy Awards telecast.
Lauren Bacall, B-movie king Roger Corman and "Godfather" cinematographer Gordon Willis were honored at last year’s Governors Awards, a black-tie dinner for industry insiders that included film clips, speeches and many Champagne toasts.