Industry veterans are no stranger to the Academy Awards. Year after year the same directors attend Hollywood’s most revered award show, receiving multiple accolades for their work. However, one exception has always been cult filmmaker David Lynch, whose breadth of work including the likes of Twin Peaks, Eraserhead and Wild at Heart has burrowed its way into the psyche of filmmakers and cinephiles alike. Hell, there’s even an adjective in the Oxford English Dictionary after him, the progenitor of Lynchian filmmaking. But now, after decades of just falling short of the prestigious award, David Lynch has finally received his Academy Honorary Award at the Governor’s Awards in California. Damn fine!
The filmmaker was flanked by his frequent collaborators Kyle MacLachlan, Laura Dern and Isabella Rossellini, who also formed the main cast of his neo-noir thriller Blue Velvet, and the latter of which delivered her own speech on the director’s life and work to introduce him. Lynch, in true Lynchian fashion, defied expectation by giving an exceptionally short speech, thanking the Academy and his peers:
“To the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, thank you for this honour. And to all the people who helped me along the road.” he said. Then, he turned his attention to the Oscar itself: “you have a very interesting face. Good night.”
And that was that.
There’s no denying Lynch has made an impact on the Academy itself as well as fledgling filmmakers. The Elephant Man paved the way for makeup and visual effects to be recognised for accolades, while Mulholland Drive is widely considered to be the best film of the noughties. Lynch also famously campaigned for Laura Dern’s consideration for Best Actress in 2006’s Inland Empire, by sitting with a billboard bearing her face alongside a large, very real, cow.
Having now received an Academy Award – not that he needed it – Lynch has cemented himself alongside the bulwarks of the mainstream film world. After his last venture led him back to the world of Twin Peaks and helped shape the bulk of my university writing, I certainly hope to see more from my favourite director.
Words by Jack Roberts