US filmmaker 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 Academy announced Thursday.
The Black entertainment mogul has 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 has championed greater diversity in Hollywood, produced dozens of films and TV shows starring mainly African American actors, and last year paid funeral costs for victims of police violence including George Floyd.
“Tyler’s cultural influence extends far beyond his work as a filmmaker,” said David Rubin, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
He has quietly and steadily focused on humanitarian and social justice causes from the beginning of his career, caring for people who are most often ignored.”
The 51-year-old Perry — a producer, actor, writer and director — first achieved mainstream US success with his outspoken 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” (2009), “Gone Girl” (2014) and “Vice” (2018).