In 1939 the Academy gave an honorary Oscar to Edgar Bergen for creating a funny puppet. Some people may have thought that was silly. They also may have found it silly that a strange little "cartoon" called Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs earned itself an honorary Oscar. The legendary Bob Hope was given a fistful of honorary Oscars over the course of his amazing career ... and I don't remember anyone calling Bob Hope a brilliant actor or influential filmmaker.
In other words, these "honorary" awards that are handed out by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) can be given for any old reason they feel like -- and I for one am thrilled that they've decided to give one to Roger Corman this year. My illustrious colleague Eric Snider clearly doesn't feel the same way, and I'm here to tell Eric he's dead wrong. Wonderfully funny and a snappy dresser, sure, but on this position ... dead wrong.
One day George Lucas will receive a similar award from the Academy. At that time you'll have film fans who say "Absolutely. For just the technical advances that he and his colleagues have created, and for his massive influence on modern-day film exhibition, he's certainly deserving of an Oscar spotlight." You'll also have film fans who say "The director of Star Wars, THX-1138, American Graffiti and The Phantom Menace? Really? The guy who produced Radioland Murders and Howard the Duck? I don't believe it! Typical Hollywood politics!"