Hollywood turned its thoughts Sunday to victims of deadly wildfires at a ceremony that awarded honorary Oscars to composer Lalo Schifrin and actress Cicely Tyson.
Schifrin, of Argentina, is best known for his “Mission: Impossible” theme song, while Tyson has been an icon for two generations of African American actresses.
As a sign of respect for the fire victims — 77 north of Sacramento and three in the Malibu area bordering Hollywood — organizers asked photographers not to film stars arriving at the Dolby Theater for the 10th annual Governors Awards ceremony.
Instead, pictures were restricted to the edge of the red carpet.
In his opening remarks, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, John Bailey, paid homage to the victims of California’s worst-ever wildfire.
“Many thousands of our fellow Americans are homeless,” Bailey said, also referring to those still unaccounted for, a figure which on Sunday numbered almost 1,000.
“Some of our own history was lost in the same fire, at Paramount Ranch, home to the Academy’s summer screenings of silent films,” Bailey said.
Schifrin, 86, has written scores for more than 100 films, including “Bullitt” and “Dirty Harry”, as well as his theme for the television series “Mission: Impossible”, a hallmark of the films that followed.
He received his statuette from “Dirty Harry” star Clint Eastwood at the end of a somewhat surrealistic dialogue between the two octogenarians.
“You can say it in Spanish. We’ll put subtitles,” Eastwood said.
“Music is a universal language that does not need subtitles,” Schifrin replied.
Asked about the immediate success of the “Mission Impossible” theme which he composed in a few minutes, the musician explained simply:
“Music for movies is like writing a letter. Music for television is like a telegram…”