On successive evenings, the Academy honored two women Oprah Winfrey and Vanessa Redgrave (as well as couple of guys) with two big awards. On Saturday night in LA, Oprah received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her philanthropic work. While I know she is more TV than movies, this is a smart and well-deserved award. First, she’s got free time now that the Oprah Winfrey Show is over and wants to make more movies.
And really is there a bigger philanthropist? This is a woman who has put 65,000 people of color through college (I admit to crying watching those final Oprah episodes where the men she has put through college honored her) and has built a leadership academy for girls in South Africa, and has done many more philanthropic activities than we will ever know.
Here’s what she said when she received the award:
“The Help that is my story. All of us can make a difference through the life we lead…We’re all here to help each other.”
Then on Sunday in London, Vanessa Redgrave who won a best supporting actress Oscar for the 1977 film Julia, was celebrated in “An Academy Salute to Vanessa Redgrave” for her 50 year career. And she’s still hard at work. She is currently appearing onstage in Driving Miss Daisy with James Earl Jones (who was awarded an honorary Oscar the previous evening in the same ceremony as Oprah), and she is at the top of the best supporting actress list this year for her performance in Coriolanus. She also appeared this year in The Whistleblower and Anonymous proving that 74 year old women still have got game.
The Academy Celebrates Vanessa Redgrave at Unprecedented Tribute in London (Hollywood Reporter)
Oprah Winfrey, James Earl Jones and Dick Smith on Governors Awards (Exclusive Audio) (Hollywood Reporter)
Vanessa Redgrave saluted for ‘brilliant 50-year career’ (The Telegraph)