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Oprah Winfrey defended by Academy president Tom Sherak

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Noted contrarian Armond White is at it again, begging for attention by calling out the Academy for its decision to present Oprah Winfrey with its Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. White, who consistently writes against the grain to get a cheap response, wonders if Winfrey’s nod is a deliberate attempt to “grovel for TV ratings” for the annual Oscar telecast.

Well, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Tom Sherak, who recently was re-elected, didn’t let White get away with his unchecked rant, and responded immediately.

“Oprah has given and given and given,” Sherak said to the AP. “She’s a member of the academy, she was nominated for an Academy Award and she has produced movies. This is not about personality. This is about a person who has come from the depths, risen to the heights and given back. That’s a perfect example of why this award was created.”

Sherak explained, for the benefit of those like White, that the award “exemplifies giving back to the community, the world, society in an extraordinary way.”

“We have a lot of people who are TV people who have made movies,” he continued. “It doesn’t matter that they do other things… She is definitely one of us. What really counts is her contribution to humanity.”

What is White’s contribution to humanity, outside of short-sighted vitriol?

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Photo courtesy of PRPhotos.com.

About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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One Comment

  • August 5, 2011 | Permalink |

    I have watched the Academy Awards since I was like 7, more and more they become less relevant. I used to really have respect for the award and the Academy, but not in the last many years. Poor hosting choices, the predictabilty of who is going to win, the lack of “real stars” even showing up anymore, and now BS like this. Oprah has about ZERO to do with the Oscars and movies, she has been in two. As for her being a philanthropist, PLEASE, she has not given all that much money away, if you look or the Forbes list, her ranking is actually quite low considering she is a BILLIONAIRE and lives the life of luxury, beside her name on the list, there is an asterisk beside her amount given to charity. It’s there to denote that the money given is not solely given from her, but, from the ANGEL NETWORK. Where did the Angel Network get its money? From the fans of of her TV show, NOT OPRAH, for the most part. There are so many other deserving MOVIE people who in line ahead of her. I am so not tuning into the Oscars anymore if this goes ahead. Wasnt every award possible in TV enough already?

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