What was the Motion Picture Academy thinking, giving an honorary Oscar to Jackie Chan, whose flourishing career from a commercial standpoint does not particularly represent the sort of rationale that merits an Academy Award.
Box office success has seldom by itself inspired selections for this coveted award. Plus, there have been quite a few nominees and winners even in the most consequential categories who have not been nor have they ever truly become movie stars.
Not to mention that it took years and years to get a special Oscar for major film luminaries such as Myrna Loy, Deborah Kerr, Kirk Douglas and Peter O'Toole, whose careers included significant cinematic achievements in addition to their prominence, yet never resulted in awarding them a competitive Oscar.
Also, consider superstars such as Warren Beatty, Robert Redford, Debbie Reynolds, Annette Bening, Harrison Ford, Albert Finney, Kim Novak, Doris Day, Samuel L. Jackson, Glenn Close, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp, just some of the performers already past fifty who have never won an acting Oscar, nor have they received the honorary award, which has always been a way for the Academy to recognize these oversights, despite their having also appeared in any number of important movies.
I'm not sure why the Academy leaders felt moved to award Chan with this honor, but giving them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps they were drawing attention to a genre of the cinema world that has popular favor and entertains a large audience, in spite of the absence of critical acclaim.
Maybe if all the actors of distinction who have been featured in notable films had already been honored in the manner that the Academy traditionally has done, either by competitive or Board of Governor-granted awards, then it might be justified to lower their standards of excellence.
This is not meant as a personal slight against Chan and I applaud his financial success, but, as stated above, the Academy is noted for nominating and awarding achievements that stand above or at least alongside the best work done, regardless of its marketability.
The Governors dropped the ball and are simply currying favor among Chan's many worldwide fans, which won't even increase their interest in the telecast, as these Oscars are not presented on the Academy show, but merely to an audience at a private banquet, only tidbits of which are broadcast in the spring and usually with barely the briefest appearances on stage or in the audience by the recipients.
Sorry, Academy, but this was not an appropriate choice -- not by the premier film organization in the world.
Michael Russnow's website is www.ramproductionsinternational.com