James Earl Jones Governors Awards

November 13, 2011 by staff 

James Earl Jones Governors Awards, It hadn’t been a great few days for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Leading up to last night’s Governors Awards (the separate ceremony where the honorary Oscars are handed out), the Academy was forced to deal with all the fallout from Brett Ratner and Eddie Murphy’s resignations as the producer and host of February’s Oscar telecast. But they ended this rough chapter with a classy and emotional event as James Earl Jones, makeup artist Dick Smith, and Oprah Winfrey all received tributes.

The ballroom adjacent to the Kodak Theatre was filled with stars who will contend for this season’s Oscars. It’s as if my Oscar prediction article in this week’s issue of EW had magically come to life. Here’s everyone I spotted: the whole gang from The Artist (Jean Dujardin, Bérénce Bejo, Malcolm McDowell, and director Michel Hazanavicius), The Help‘s Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer with director Tate Taylor and producer Brunson Green, Shame‘s Michael Fassbender and director Steve McQueen, The Descendants‘ Shailene Woodley, Bridesmaids‘ Melissa McCarthy, Albert Nobbs‘ Glenn Close and Janet McTeer, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy star Gary Oldman, Rampart‘s Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster, A Better Life‘s Demi?n Bichir with director Chris Weitz, 50/50‘s Seth Rogen and screenwriter Will Reiser, Warrior‘s Nick Nolte with director Gavin O’Connor, Young Adult‘s Patton Oswalt, W.E. star Andrea Riseborough, We Need to Talk About Kevin‘s Tilda Swinton, Another Happy Day‘s Ellen Barkin, Moneyball director Bennett Miller, J. Edgar screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, Jane Eyre director Cary Fukunaga, and The Ides of March‘s Evan Rachel Wood.

The evening began with a bit of fun as people in full Stormtrooper costumes emerged to playfully force attendees to quit mingling and take their seats. At that point, Darth Vader took the stage and revealed himself to be Academy president Tom Sherak, who began his introductory remarks with four wryly loaded words: “How was your week?” Sherak also paid tribute to two past telecast producers who passed away this year: Laura Ziskin and Gil Cates.

The first award of the night belonged to Darth Vader himself, James Earl Jones. Alec Baldwin began the tribute to his Hunt for Red October co-star, recalling the time he asked Jones for advice in his career during filming. “We were standing outside a stage at Paramount, and the moment came,” Baldwin said. “We were smoking a cigarette together out in the alleyway and I finally said to him, ‘What advice would you give to me as an actor?’ And he stared at me with that face of his and took the longest pause you could ever imagine, and he said, ‘What advice would I give you as an actor?’ And my heart was racing, I said ‘Yes. What advice would you give me as an actor?’ And he said, ‘My advice to you would be to quit smoking.’” Then Glenn Close offered her own words of congratulations before introducing taped footage from earlier in the day when Jones, on stage after a performance of Driving Miss Daisy in London, received his trophy from his Miss Daisy co-star Vanessa Redgrave and surprise guest, actor Ben Kingsley. “If an actor’s nightmare is being on stage buck nkd and not knowing his lines, what the heck do you call this? I mean, look at this! I’ve been on this stage with a great audience, I have my clothes on, I knew my words, and then out from the wings steps Sir Ben Kingsley and he hands me an Oscar! Frankly, what the heck else would you call that but an actor’s wet dream?”

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