Jackie Chan in last year’s Dragon Blade.
By Ed Diokno
Jackie Chan, the martial artist and bonafide movie star, will be getting an Oscar after scores of films in a career that spans five decades.
It will be an honorary Oscar for the Hong Kong-born actor. He will receive the golden statuette at the Governors Awards on Nov. 12 instead of the regular Oscar telecast in early 2017, but it is an Oscar, nevertheless.
The international film star will receive an honorary Academy Award for his body of work, which is extensive with more than 100 movies in Asia and the U.S., including Rush Hour
, Police Story
, Shanghai Noon
, The Karate Kid
remake and more.
The 62-year-old master of stunts and martial arts has often written, directed and produced the titles that he’s starred in, and also lent his voice to the animated Kung Fu Panda movies. Chan, a former stunt man, was known for doing all his extraordinary stunts in complicated fight scenes.
Chan will accept his award alongside fellow honorees film editor Anne Coates, casting director Lynn Stalmaster and documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman.
“The Honorary Award was created for artists like Jackie Chan, Anne Coates, Lynn Stalmaster and Frederick Wiseman — true pioneers and legends in their crafts,” Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement. “The Board is proud to honor their extraordinary achievements, and we look forward to celebrating with them at the Governors Awards in November.”
The Hong Kong-born Chan, 62, made his motion picture debut at eight years old, and segued into Hollywood films with 1996’s Rumble in the Bronx. None of his films have been what you might call prestige films and Chan was doubly penalized for doing most of his work in a genre not generally respected by “film makers” — martial arts, or more derisively, “chopsocky,” movies.
He believed he should have been nominated for his role as Mr. Miyagi in a remake of The Karate Kid, 10 years ago. When Chan didn’t get nominated, he called out the Academy’s selection process unfair. It has been 31 years since an Oscar was given to an Asian actor. The last Asian actor to win an Oscar was Haing S. Ngor, a Cambodian refugee who won the Academy Award in 1985 for his supporting role in The Killing Fields.
Chan is following in the footsteps of Robert Redford, who won an honorary Oscar in 2001, and Steve Martin, who got his in 2013. The 2015 honourees were Debbie Reynolds, Spike Lee and Gena Rowlands.
The Oscars’ Honorary Award is given “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.”