Angelina Jolie and Angela Lansbury, along with Steve Martin and costume designer Piero Tosi, received honorary Oscars at the Governors Award last night. Awarded by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, these early statuettes are intended to recognize career achievements.
Uncharacteristically flustered and nervous, Jolie was bestowed the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and used the podium to speak about her mother’s influence on the intersection between her filmmaking and her philanthropic work:
My mother loved art. She loved film. She supported any crazy thing I did. But whenever it had meaning, she made a point of telling me, That is what film is for. She never had a career had an artist, she never had the opportunity to express herself beyond her theater class, but she wanted more for herself. She wanted [brother] Jamie and I to know what it is to have a life as an artist. She gave me that chance. She drove me to every audition, she’d wait in the car for hours, always make me feel really good all the times I didn’t get the job. And when I did, we would jump up and down and scream and yell like little girls…. Above all, she was very clear: nothing would mean anything if I didn’t live a life of use to others.
Lansbury received a Lifetime Achievement Award, a substitute for the dozens of nominations she’s missed out on since she attained her last Oscar nod back in 1962 for The Manchurian Candidate. “You have no idea,” she declared about her long-overdue recognition when she arrived on stage to a musical snippet from Beauty and the Beast. She thanked three of her fellow actresses first — Ingrid Bergman, Bette Davis, Kate Hepburn — before appreciating gratitude to many of her male co-stars and directors: Orson Welles, Laurence Olivier, Frank Sinatra, Paul Newman, James Earl Jones, and Clark Gable.
Watch Jolie and Lansbury’s speeches: