True Grit directors the Coen Brothers have been named as the recipients of an Israeli prize honouring achievements of outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social impact.
The US filmmakers, whose films include Fargo and A Serious Man, are the 2011 winners of the Dan David Prize.
The prize celebrates the work of individuals or groups in three categories, past, present and future. Worth $1 million each, the prizes have been awarded since 2002 by Israeli philanthropist Dan David and Tel Aviv University.
Part of the prize money goes towards helping graduate students fund research in the same field as those honoured.
The Coen Brothers, who are up for ten Oscars this weekend, have been celebrated in the “present” category, for a “creative partnership” that is unique in the history of filmmaking.
The judges said of the pair: “Their control over final cut of their films, their grasp of film genres, black comedy, and their capacity to bring narrative complexity to apparently simple plots have become hallmarks of their films.”
Other winners for 2011 included Stanford University professor Marcus Feldman, for his work on evolution, and Professors Cynthia Kenyon and Gary Ruvkun, for their ”pioneering work” on human lifespans.
Past winners have included politicians Tony Blair and Al Gore, as well as playwright Tom Stoppard and author Margaret Atwood.
It is thought that the Coen Brothers will visit Israel in May to collect their prize from President Shimon Peres.