Michael J. Fox, beloved star of the Back To The Future franchise, will receive an honorary Oscar at the at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 13th Governors Awards, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
While Fox is known for his iconic film and television roles, he has become a prominent activist after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991. In light of his work, which includes the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, he will be awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. The prize is bestowed upon “an individual in the motion picture arts and sciences whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.” Previous recipients of the honor, which has only been presented 42 times (per THR), include Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra, Oprah Winfrey, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Angelina Jolie.
“The Academy’s board of governors is honored to recognize four individuals who have made indelible contributions to cinema and the world at large,” Academy president David Rubin says in a statement. “Michael J. Fox’s tireless advocacy of research on Parkinson’s disease alongside his boundless optimism exemplifies the impact of one person in changing the future for millions.”
The actor enjoyed a fruitful career even after his diagnosis–including a memorable recurring role on The Good Wife and leading his own sitcom, The Michael J. Fox Show–but has now essentially retired. “There is a time for everything, and my time of putting in a 12-hour workday, and memorizing seven pages of dialogue, is best behind me,” he wrote in his 2020 memoir No Time Like The Future.
Songwriter Diane Warren, filmmaker Peter Weir, and trailblazing Black director Euzhan Palcy will also receive awards 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.”