Visionary director and AFI Conservatory alumnus David Lynch (Class of 1970) will receive an Honorary Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which will be presented at the 11th annual Governors Awards on Sunday, October 27.
A four-time nominee for MULHOLLAND DR. (2001), BLUE VELVET (1986) and THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980), this is the first Oscar for Lynch. His debut film, the experimental and bracingly surrealist ERASERHEAD (1977), was produced with the assistance of the AFI, with Lynch shooting the film across AFI-owned locations such as Greystone Manor, home to the original AFI Conservatory.
Lynch’s mind-bending aesthetic has helped to shape the lexicon of global cinema today. Most recently, he brought his otherworldly vision of TWIN PEAKS back to the small screen with Showtime’s 2017 revival THE RETURN, hailed by critics as a masterpiece the world over.
He has been described by The Guardian as “the most important director of his era,” and the “first popular surrealist” by legendary critic Pauline Kael. His 1990 thriller WILD AT HEART won the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. His additional credits include the ambitious Frank Herbert adaptation DUNE (1984), TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME (1992), coolly unsettling neo-noir LOST HIGHWAY (1997), THE STRAIGHT STORY (1999) and INLAND EMPIRE (2006).
Offscreen, the Renaissance man is also a musician, having released three albums over his own and collaborated with many other pop musicians, from Lykke Li to Karen O.
Lynch has previously been honored by AFI as well. In 2010, he served as the Guest Artistic Director of AFI FEST, received an AFI Honorary Degree in 2012 and the first Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal in 1991. Watch video from his Schaffner Award acceptance speech below.