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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Motion Picture & Television Fund to Receive an Oscar

The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (Oscar peeps) has selected the Motion Picture Television Fund (MPTF) to receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for service to the industry. MPTF has the distinction of being the first organization to be awarded the Hersholt for the support they provide to the entertainment community they love.

The award's namesake, Jean Hersholt, was president of the Academy in the ‘40s and president of MPTF for 18 years, beginning in 1938. He was known has one of the greatest humanitarians the industry has ever known. Bob Beitcher, MPTF CEO, said upon hearing the Academy’s announcement, “The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award goes to the current staff at MPTF and to the tens of thousands of other staff members since our founding in 1921 who advanced the mission of ‘taking care of our own’ through their compassion and respect for the dignity of our entertainment community members.”

Although the "Hersholt" has been presented to industry figures largely for their strong ties to working on behalf of MPTF causes, like Roger Mayer and Jeffrey Katzenberg, this is a first for the organization itself. Now in its 100th year, the MPTF offers a variety of services to provide emotional and financial relief to entertainment industry members and their families during times of need, including health care, and senior and childcare services. The organization’s contribution during the pandemic has made a significant impact on the entertainment community, providing social services support to nearly 9,000 industry members in 2020 alone. MPTF also offers a wide range of housing accommodations from independent and assisted living to nursing and memory care.

The Board of Governors of the Academy voted to amend the rules for the Governors Awards saying, “For this year only, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award may be given not just to an individual, but also to a group of individuals or an organization in the motion picture arts and sciences whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.” I never knew the award was restricted to individuals. Hopefully this precedent will leave open the opportunity for other philanthropic organizations to receive the prestigious honor in the future.

I myself have been a volunteer at the MPTF for more than a decade. I've participated in many different events such as painting on campus rooms at the long term care facility, updating the residence of a retired union painter, decorating a warehouse for a Halloween event, selling merchandise at the Hugh Jackman hosted charity auction, participating in the production of a residents' short film, and overseeing the ninth hole at the annual golf tournament (if anyone got a hole in one they won a car - it didn't happen). And although my move from Hollywood to Riverside makes it difficult to participate on a regular basis, I still like to promote the MPTF's continuing efforts. As an Assistant Director, and fan of all the work the many retiree residents have given over the years, I think it's important to say, "Thanks", for all their hard work - on and off the screen.

The 93rd Oscars will be held Sunday, April 25, and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.


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