LOS ANGELES -- The first Oscars of the season have been awarded.
The film academy's board of governors voted Wednesday to present honorary Academy Awards to stuntman Hal Needham, documentarian D. A. Pennebaker and arts advocate George Stevens, Jr. The group also announced that producer and philanthropist Jeffrey Katzenberg will receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
Needham has more than 300 feature films to his credit as a stunt performer and coordinator. The academy recognized him in 1986 for a camera car and crane he developed that allowed greater versatility in shooting action sequences. He also directed such films as "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Cannonball Run."
Pennebaker has been making documentaries for six decades and was nominated for an Oscar for 1993's "The War Room."
Stevens is the founding director of the American Film Institute and co-founded the Kennedy Center Honors, which he has produced for 34 years.
Chief of DreamWorks Animation, Katzenberg is a longtime philanthropist who helped raise more than $200 million for the Motion Picture and Television Fund, which provides financial assistance, health care and social services to members of the entertainment community.
The four honorees will receive their Oscar statuettes at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 4th annual Governors Awards dinner. The private ceremony is set for December 1 in the Ray Dolby Ballroom, just upstairs from Oscar's home at Hollywood & Highland's Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
Also on HuffPost:
Logic would dictate that Seth Rogen is a terrible choice to host the 85th annual Academy Awards. After all, his shaggy-dog performance at the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday night was unfocused, meandering and much too laid back for "Hollywood's biggest night." <a href="http://news.moviefone.com/2012/02/27/billy-crystal-black-face-oscars_n_1303861.html?ref=moviefone" target="_hplink">He also doesn't do blackface</a>. But Rogen <em>is</em> hilarious, as his joke about why Brett Ratner would have worked as producer of the Grammys can dictate. "At the Grammys, you can literally beat the shit out of a nominee and be asked to perform twice," <a href="http://news.moviefone.com/2012/02/25/seth-rogen-independent-spirit-awards_n_1301891.html" target="_hplink">Rogen said</a>. More of this in 2013, Academy! (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
One of the few highlights of the 84th annual Academy Awards? <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/27/emma-stone-oscars-2012-th_n_1303786.html" target="_hplink">Emma Stone's totally invested and loopy performance opposite straight-man Ben Stiller while presenting the Best Visual Effects Oscar</a>. She was <em>so funny</em>. And <em>so adorable</em>. And unlike Anne Hathaway at the 83rd annual Academy Awards, her enthusiasm and energy seemed legitimate, and not manufactured. Get this lady a co-host (perhaps Stiller, Michael Cera or Jonah Hill), and give her the stage in 2013. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Call it the Billy Crystal principle. Last year, Crystal took the stage during James Franco and Anne Hathaway's Waterloo of a hosting performance and received a standing ovation for being anyone other than James Franco and Anne Hathaway. Chris Rock didn't get such an honor on Sunday night, but he was a welcome shot of unpredictability. While Jude Law and Sean Penn might not want to see him return to the Oscar stage, here's guessing many at home are hoping for a Rock return in 2013. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Everyone loves Meryl Streep. Even the half of America that Streep wisely indicated was tired of seeing her honored by a group of Hollywood peers loves Meryl Streep. She's charming, flirty, funny and quick-witted! You can imagine her holding court over the proceedings with ease -- and a glass of white wine well within reach. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
If everyone loves Meryl Streep, everyone <em>loves</em> Colin Firth. Remember how great he was while talking to Streep about filming "Mamma Mia" in Greece? "Meryl. Mamma Mia. We were in Greece. We danced. I was gay." Picture that for three hours. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Anne Hathaway And James Franco
Just seeing if you're still paying attention. (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick Harris
There isn't technically a law on the books that Neil Patrick Harris and Hugh Jackman have to host all awards shows together, but if you saw the 65th annual Tony Awards last June, you understand that one should exist. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
The cast of the "The Bridesmaids"
Will "Bridesmaids" still be a "thing" in 2013? Probably not. Will Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, Wendi McClendon-Covey and Rose Byrne still be <em>hi</em>larious in 2013? Absolutely! Their banter -- from the Golden Globes to the SAG awards all the way through to the Oscars -- was an awards season highlight. Forget any terrible sequel ideas; let's reunite this crew for the 85th annual Academy Awards and let them climb the telecast like a tree. (Ding!) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Give Angelina Jolie and her crazy leg some credit. Unlike robotic presenters like Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez, Jolie seemed excited to be on stage. Girl's got personality! You know Pitt does too. See if Hollywood's preeminent power couple would deign to host the 2013 Academy Awards and watch the ratings spike. Bonus if they get into a fight during the telecast! (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Shouldn't Jimmy Fallon get a crack at this show one of these years? Being a talk show host on NBC has obviously hurt his chances to run the ABC telecast, but Fallon has proved to be an adept awards show host (see: the 2010 Emmys). Plus, he loves <em>everything</em>. Assume that enthusiasm travels to viewers at home -- provided they haven't been put to sleep by whatever Cirque du Soleil-like stunt the 2013 Oscars pull off -- and produces the most-liked Academy Awards in years. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
He couldn't do worse than Francaway, right? (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)