The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Governors Awards took place this weekend honoring Michael J. Fox, Diane Warren, Euzhan Palcy and Peter Weir at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Century City.
Now in its 13th year, the Governors Awards is essentially the Oscars’ chance to right past mistakes and correct some oversights. Presents special Oscars for lifetime achievement…and allows future Oscar nominees to start networking ahead of the lengthy Oscar campaigns for next year’s awards.
The four icons were celebrated by the likes of Michelle Williams and Paul Dano of The fabled menCate Blanchett’s TarBrendan Fraser’s The whale and Laura Dern of The son.
Other attendees included Tom Hanks, Florence Pugh, Jordan Peele, Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Gabrielle Union, Angela Bassett, Margot Robbie, and Jean Smart.
Return to the future and Family Ties star Fox, 61, was honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an Oscar statuette given “to a person in the motion picture arts and sciences whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”
Woody Harrelson introduced Fox.
“He didn’t choose to be a Parkinson’s patient or an advocate for the disease, but make no mistake, it’s his biggest accomplishment,” Harrelson said.
“Vulnerable, yes. A victim, never. An inspiration, always the symbol of the living breath and the singular voice to help advance progress towards a cure. The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has so far raised more than $1 billion for the cause. Michael J. Fox sets the ultimate example of how to fight and how to live, and today he is as beloved for his activism as he is for his performance.”
Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991. In 2000, he launched the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research, which has raised $1.5 billion for Parkinson’s research.
“They’re making me cringe,” Fox said after receiving a standing ovation as she accepted her award.
“It is a totally unexpected honor and I am truly grateful. (…) It has caught my attention that everything they have given me -success, my life with [wife] Tracy [Pollan], my family – had prepared me for this profound opportunity and responsibility. Was a present.”
Cher featured American songwriter and 13-time Oscar nominee Diane Warren.
“I love being able to do this, write songs, write a song from a movie that can make someone cry, give someone hope, make someone feel something, create a memorable moment, something that they could remember their whole life, this is for what I was born with,” Warren said.
“I would like to say one more thing,” added the 66-year-old. “Once again the words I thought I would never get to say but always dreamed I would. I waited 34 years to say this: I would like to thank the Academy.”
Jeff Bridges introduced Australian director Peter Weir, 78, who recounted a few anecdotes about his time working on Bold.
Weir, the director of Dead Poets Society Y the truman showhe remembered his last collaborators, such as Robin Williams.
“It was amazing to see him when there wasn’t a crowd around, just two or three people, when he would get caught up in this inspiration and become this extraordinary character,” Weir said of Williams.
Mindy Kaling, who hosted the event, spoke about the evening’s final honoree, Martinique-born filmmaker Euzhan Palcy, referencing his film A dry white season (which earned Marllon Brando his last Oscar nomination) or “what I used to call awards season.”
Viola Davis introduced Palcy.
“Euzhan Palcy has had a fascinating life. But tonight I want to focus on his work. Because it is through his work that he has left his mark of speaking truth to power, pulling back the curtain on things that were hidden from many, sharing with a global audience stories that needed to be told.”
“You didn’t stand up for your blackness, you didn’t stand up for your femininity,” Davis added. “You used it as warrior fuel.”
Palcy, 64, was the first black filmmaker to direct a film for a major Hollywood studio: MGM’s. A dry white season in 1989.
She shared why she stopped making movies because she was “exhausted” from the effort of persuading people to believe in her.
“I lost my will to hear those words, black is not bankable, woman is not bankable, black and woman are not bankable. Come on guys! Look, look at my sister standing next to me. Black is bankable. The woman is bankable. Black and women are bankable!” Palcy said.
“My stories are not black. My stories are not white. My stories are universal, they are colorful,” she said. “I congratulate the Academy for helping lead the charge to change our industry and for opening doors that were closed to the ideas and vision I championed for so long.”
Palcy also shared a message for the next generation of filmmakers:
“When you love something, don’t let anyone divert you from your dream.”
Last year’s awards were postponed due to COVID and were held just before the Oscars in March. The Oscars will take place on Sunday, March 12, 2023.