Angela Bassett, known for her roles as Tina Turner, Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, and Black Panther’s Queen Ramonda, was honored with her first Academy Award on Tuesday after a long and successful career of over 40 years.
The 14th annual Governors awards, hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, recognized the actor for their contributions to film and humanitarian causes.
The 65-year-old actor has been nominated for Academy Awards in the past, once for portraying Tina Turner in the biopic “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” and again for her role in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” She is the first actor from a Marvel film and the first woman from a superhero movie to receive this recognition.
At the awards event, originally planned for November but postponed due to labor strikes, Mel Brooks, aged 97, and Carol Littleton, renowned film editor for ET and Body Heat, were both acknowledged with honorary Oscars. These awards celebrate individuals who have made remarkable contributions to the film industry throughout their lifetime, have greatly impacted the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or have provided exceptional service to the Academy.
Michelle Satter, from the Sundance Institute, was honored with the Jean Hersholt humanitarian award.
The Governors awards allow the Academy to rectify previous mistakes and recognize the accomplishments of esteemed Hollywood veterans, while also bringing together top names in the business. On Tuesday, comedian John Mulaney hosted the event, which was attended by popular celebrities and potential Oscar nominees such as Margot Robbie, Bradley Cooper, America Ferrera, Cillian Murphy, Lenny Kravitz, Natalie Portman, and Julianne Moore.
The atmosphere inside the Dolby theatre was calm and joyful as the recipients of the night’s awards were announced well ahead of time.
Regina King, who acted alongside Bassett in the 1991 movie Boyz n the Hood, presented the actress and praised her as a one-of-a-kind “national treasure.”
King described her as having a Black perspective, voice, and beauty, but her essence goes beyond her physical appearance. She is the embodiment of artistic excellence in human form.
Bassett was welcomed on stage with a prolonged round of applause. She expressed her gratitude to her loved ones, specifically her husband, actor Courtney B Vance.
“I have chosen to pursue acting as my true calling, not just a job. I am passionate about this work and find it deeply fulfilling. It is my hope that it can bring about change and have a positive impact,” she expressed. “To be acknowledged for my efforts in this manner is truly amazing, and I am incredibly grateful.”
Angela Bassett acknowledged the groundbreaking work of trailblazers like Hattie McDaniel, the first Black person to win an Oscar, during her speech at the honorary Oscar ceremony. She noted that she is only the second Black female actor to receive this prestigious award, following in the footsteps of Cicely Tyson. McDaniel’s barrier-breaking achievements paved the way for Black women to be recognized and celebrated at the highest levels in the industry, Bassett stated.
“To my fellow Black actresses, I encourage you to be brave and resilient. Your contributions are valuable, despite any doubts or challenges you may face. Always remember your true identity and the legacy of our ancestors.”
I am grateful to be able to share this special moment with strong women who refuse to be pushed aside, who refuse to be silenced, and who continue to persist even when faced with defeat. These women embody the ones I have been fortunate enough to portray, as well as the ordinary women around us who motivate and encourage us to never give up.
Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane, known for their roles in the 2005 adaptation of Brooks’ The Producers, awarded the legendary comedian, actor, and filmmaker with an honorary Oscar. They did so by performing a musical tribute featuring some of his most iconic works.
“He expressed, amidst laughter, that this holds great significance to him. The Oscar he received for his original screenplay for The Producers is a source of regret as he believes he should not have sold it.”
Rephrased: It is a significant gesture when your colleagues recognize and honor your work with a golden statue. This has a deep impact.
Ryan Coogler and Chloé Zhao, both directors, awarded Michelle Satter with the humanitarian award for her impactful work, according to Coogler who stated that she has made a significant impact on the world. Previous honorees of this award include Frank Sinatra, Angelina Jolie, and Oprah Winfrey.
Satter, the founding director of the Sundance Institute, has worked with countless independent film-makers, including Coogler and Zhao, through the institute’s labs.
Glenn Close presented Littleton, emphasizing the importance of film editors in shaping movies. Littleton dedicated her recognition to all editors who work tirelessly in the shadows of the editing room, carefully considering each cut and making countless decisions to bring a distinct and convincing world to life. Littleton reflected on her time editing ET, which she described as a compelling tale of acceptance and understanding for others.
She stated that by being humble and patient, we can also discover a shared sense of humanity in unexpected locations.