Francis Ford Coppola held off returning a phone call from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when officials contacted him about an upcoming honour - because he feared the message would be bad news.
The Godfather director will be feted at the organisation's second annual Governors Awards on Sunday (14Nov10) when he collects the coveted Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for his work as a producer.
But Coppola admits he was keen to delay calling the Academy back because he is overcome with nerves whenever friends in the industry reach out to him unexpectedly.
He says, "Well, I am always nervous when I get a phone call from folks where I am living. (It's a) 'Why are they calling me?' kind of thing and 'Who's sick?' or 'Who's passed away?' But it was happy news."
And the filmmaker is honoured to have been selected to receive the top accolade for his production credits, reports the Associated Press.
He adds, "It is sort of the ultimate award for producing. I've been a writer, a director and I have gotten more than my share of those honours. The Thalberg award for me is kind of a trifecta."
Coppola will join film historian Kevin Brownlow, director Jean-Luc Godard and actor Eli Wallach as an honouree at the pre-Oscars event.