Tyler Perry to receive Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Oscars

Filmmaker Tyler Perry and the Motion Picture and Television Fund are being honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Thursday.

The group that puts on the Oscars decided to give the award to two recipients this year in recognition of the “widespread generosity” that they’ve witnessed amid the pandemic. It’s also the first time an organization has received the award.

Both Perry and the MPTF have strived to help people in the entertainment industry impacted by the health crisis. Perry helped create a safe way for many to return to work at his Tyler Perry Studios, while the MPTF has provided social services to nearly 9,000 members.

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“Tyler’s cultural influence extends far beyond his work as a filmmaker,” Academy president David Rubin said in a statement. “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 work of the MPTF is more vital than ever, and the organization has gone above and beyond to help our community.”

There have been 39 Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Awards given since 1957, with recipients including Bob Hope, Oprah Winfrey and, most recently, Geena Davis. Perry and the MPTF will receive their statuettes at the 93rd Academy Awards on April 25.

For more than 10 years, the award has been presented at the untelevised Governors Awards, but the presentation is shifting back to the main ceremony this year because of the pandemic.

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