Tyler Perry will receive an honorary statuette at this year’s Oscars for his humanitarian work including efforts to get the entertainment industry safely back to work during the coronavirus pandemic.
The filmmaker and philanthropist will be honored along with the Motion Picture & Television Fund, an organisation that takes cares of the industry’s own.
Citing the pandemic-era work of both Perry and MPTF, the Academy’s board of governors voted to make a one-time exception to its bylaws to allow for more than one Hersholt to be presented in a single year.
No organisation has ever previously been recognized with a Hersholt.
This will be the first Oscars ceremony since the one in early 2009 at which special awards of any kind will be presented during the Oscars telecast. Later that year, the Academy began hosting its separate Governors Awards ceremony specifically for that purpose. But the pandemic forced the postponement of the Governors Awards that had been scheduled for 2020, and the Academy now confirms that these presentations will occur “in lieu of” that event.
In 2020, Perry set up a self-contained, 330-acre (133-hectare) production “campus” at a Civil War-era Confederate military base in Atlanta, Georgia, where hundreds have been employed while Covid-19 shuts down productions in Los Angeles and elsewhere.
Perry’s “commitment to a wide spectrum of charitable and social justice causes has been particularly impactful during the challenges of the past year, addressing economic distress caused by the pandemic, racial reckoning and homelessness in his community,” the Academy noted.
“Perry was instrumental in quickly creating a safe way to return to production during the worldwide health crisis.”
The 51-year-old first achieved mainstream success with the grandmother character Madea in the 2005 movie ‘Diary of a Mad Black Woman.’
A string of Madea films followed, all with Perry in drag in the role of the title character. He has also appeared in movies including ‘Star Trek’, ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘Vice’.
His films, TV shows and plays have since made him a household name in the US, especially among African Americans, and he became a billionaire last year, according to Forbes.