Five time Oscar-winning producer, writer and director, Francis Ford Coppola, is to receive the Academy’s Irving Thalberg Memorial Award later in the year.

The award, named after the legendary head of production for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in the 30’s, has previously been presented to such past masters of cinema as Alfred Hitchcock, Walt Disney and Cecil B. DeMille.

Coppola is responsible for some of the most memorable and well-respected Hollywood films of all time, particularly in the seventies, where he picked up four of his Oscars for writing and directing both the 1971 classic The Godfather and its sequel three years later.

Other works from that decade also include the legendary Apocalypse Now and the now-acknowledged masterpiece, The Conversation. He is also known for being part of the so-called “movie brats” in that era, a collective which included the likes Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma and a younger Steven Spielberg.

The filmmaker has chosen to divert most of his attention away from Hollywood for the last two decades, instead concentrating on the winery he owns near San Francisco, although he recently directed a couple of smaller and personal features, Youth Without Youth and Tetro, made in 2007 and 2009, respectively.

It’s nice to see him still getting recognition for his earlier efforts and I hope the publicity surrounding this award will help to bring him and his work to the attention of a new generation of film lovers.