The actor received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his contributions to Parkinson's disease research. The Governors Awards also went to filmmakers Euzhan Palcy, Peter Weir and composer Diane Warren
Actor Michael J. Fox receives a Honorary Oscar for his fight against Parkinson's
Four standing ovations in one night might seem a bit much, even by Hollywood standards. But in the Governors Awards on Saturday night, where Michael J. Fox, Euzhan Palcy, Peter Weir and Diane Warren were honored with honorary Oscar statuettes, every moment felt worthy.
After several years adjusted to the pandemic, the annual Oscar event, hosted by the governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is back to be in top shape at the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel on Saturday.
The Governors Awards are a celebration of the honorees and a chance for many of the filmmakers and actors hoping to win awards to mingle with potential voters before everyone goes on vacation with a bunch of screeners to view and consider.
Michael J. Fox, was the recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his contributions to Parkinson's disease research, was first and received a colorful introduction from his friend Woody Harrelson.
Michael J. Fox receives the award from his friend Woody Harrelson. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
“He's a really cool guy,” Harrelson said. “What can I say? He's Canadian.”
The 61-year-old “Back to the Future” and “Family Ties” star was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1991 at age 29 and in 2000 began a foundation to fund more research on the disease. To date, the foundation has raised more than $1.5 billion.
“My optimism is fueled by my gratitude,” Fox said.
The actor gave a sharp, funny and thoughtful speech to accept the award. He recounted how he dropped out of high school to give acting a try and was told by a teacher, “Fox, you're not going to be cute forever.”.
Michael J. Fox kisses his wife Tracy Pollan at the end of his speech. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
“I didn't know how to respond and I said maybe just long enough,” Fox said.
He's had a particularly difficult year with injuries, including a broken cheek, hand, shoulder, arm and elbow, and the loss of his mother, who died in September, all of which he spoke at length in a recent People magazine cover story. . Tracy Pollan, his wife of four children, was there to support him and he called her up on stage to close his speech.
“I can't walk and carry this (the Oscar), so once again I ask Tracy to carry the weight,” said the “Back to the Future” actor.
The ballroom was filled with stars like Tom Hanks, Viola Davis, Colin Farrell, Angela Bassett, Margot Robbie, Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Yeoh, Robert Downey Jr., Michelle Williams, Cher, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Rooney Mara, Jessica Chastain, Damien Chazelle, Jordan Peele and Ron Howard, to name just a few.
Euzhan Palcy, from left, Michael J. Fox, Diane Warren and Peter Weir pose for photos during the Governors Awards on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, at Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
“It's a really special night,” Butler said. “I just had a very special moment with Robert Downey Jr.”
These were the first Governors Awards for the “Elvis” star, who was joined by director Baz Luhrmann and Priscilla Presley.
“Armageddon Time” actor Jaylin Webb, another newbie and self-proclaimed “superhero nerd,” was excited to see several people from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
“It's a bit overwhelming,” Webb said.
Musician Diane Warren accepts her honorary Oscar at the 13th Governors Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 19, 2022. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
The Governors Awards room brings many Unexpected star couples as everyone clamors to meet someone they admire. Near a table, Hanks could be seen sharing a laugh with Yeoh. Elsewhere in the room, Chastain chatted with Billy Eichner, while Jude Law met with director Daniel Kwan and Ke Huy Quan posed for a photo with Elizabeth Banks and Rian Johnson.
Cher for her part was on hand to introduce Diane Warren, the prolific songwriter and 13-time Oscar nominee. She laughed that Warren often calls her to tell her that he's written his best song yet, to which Cher replies, “You always say that.”.
As the composer took the stage, she said the words she's been waiting to say for 34 years, ever since she earned her first Oscar nomination: “I'd like to thank the Academy”.
“Mom, I finally found a man,” she said, looking at the golden figurine. “I know you wanted me to be a nice Jewish girl, but it's really hard to say.”
Director Peter Weir accepts his honorary Oscar at the 13th Governors Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 19, 2022. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Jeff Bridges out to celebrate Peter Weir , the Australian filmmaker who directed him in the 1993 film “Fearless”. He said it was Robin Williams who brought them together.
Weir also reflected on Williams, with whom he worked on “Dead Poets Society,” and marveled at how the actor was when no one was around and inspiration would come.
Weir, 78, was a leading voice in Australia's New Wave movement, with films like “Picnic at Hanging Rock,” “The Last Wave” and “Gallipoli,” before successfully transferring to Hollywood cinema, where he crossed genres. with ease directing films from “Dead Poets Society” and “The Truman Show” to “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” . The Australian author received many Oscar nominations over the years, but hasn't made a film since 2010's “The Way Back.”
“I had 20 wonderful years doing studio photos,” he said. “I love crafts, I think that's what it's all about. Don't you love something that is well made, be it a chair, a table or a statue?”
Director Euzhan Palcy speaks as she accepts her honorary Oscar at the 13th Governors Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 19, 2022. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Davis helped close out the night celebrating Euzhan Palcy, who was the first black woman to direct a film produced by a major studio (MGM with “A Dry White Season”).
“I'm always standing up for my femininity and my blackness,” Davis said. “You said: 'I'm not going to do that, I'm going to wait for the work that is worthy of my talent.' You used it as warrior fuel.”
Palcy has also retired from Hollywood movies in the last decade, but unlike Weir, the 64-year-old Martinique native is ready to return and make movies again.
“Black is bankable. The woman is bankable,” Palcy said. “My stories are not black, they are not white, they are universal”.
(with information from AP)