Actor and producer Oprah Winfrey, who has dominated the US television talk show scene for a quarter-century, was honoured with an Oscar statuette for her outstanding humanitarian work.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences annually bestows its Governors Awards on people who have made an impact in the industry. This year, the honorary Oscars went to Winfrey, actor James Earl Jones and make-up artist Dick Smith at a black-tie affair that brought out stars such as John Travolta, Glenn Close and Alec Baldwin.
Winfrey almost broke down when accepting her honorary Oscar and described the moment as “unimaginable” given her humble roots growing up in Mississippi. “All of us can make a difference through the life we lead,” Winfrey said. “We’re all here to help each other.”
She talked of her career as a TV chat show host and her movie work, and said it was The Colour Purple (1985) that paved the way to stardom which, ultimately, led to philanthropy. “The door opened to me through the magic and majesty of that film,” she said.
Meanwhile, James Earl Jones was given his honorary Oscar for a body of acting work that ranges from his Academy Award-nominated performance as a boxer in The Great White Hope to voicing the role of the villainous Darth Vader in the Star Wars movies. Dick Simon, on the other hand, was given an honorary Oscar for his behind-the-scenes work using make-up and prosthetics to make actors look old, young, sick, dying and dead in films ranging from The Exorcist to The Godfather.
The Oscars, or Academy Awards, for the films of 2011 will be given out in a ceremony in Los Angeles on February 26.
(with additional information from AFP)
Published in The Express Tribune, November 15th, 2011.