The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Thursday that its Board of Governors voted to present the annual Honorary Awards to Samuel L. Jackson, Elaine May, and Liv Ullmann. The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award will be given to Danny Glover. The four Oscar statuettes will be presented at the Academy’s 12th annual Governors Awards on Saturday, January 15, 2022, in Los Angeles.
Academy President David Rubin summed up the recipients’ impact, cinematic and otherwise, in the following statement: “Sam Jackson is a cultural icon whose dynamic work has resonated across genres and generations and audiences worldwide, while Elaine May’s bold, uncompromising approach to filmmaking, as a writer, director and actress, reverberates as loudly as ever with movie lovers.”
Rubin added, “Liv Ullmann’s bravery and emotional transparency has gifted audiences with deeply affecting screen portrayals, and Danny Glover’s decades-long advocacy for justice and human rights reflects his dedication to recognizing our shared humanity on and off the screen.”
The Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, is given “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy,” notes the Academy.The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, also an Oscar statuette, is given “to an individual in the motion picture arts and sciences whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”
Glover first caught the attention of movie audiences in “The Color Purple” before going on to star in the “Lethal Weapon” series, as well as “To Sleep with Anger,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Dreamgirls,” “Beyond the Lights,” and “Sorry to Bother You.” He’s a lifelong community activist who has advocated for economic justice, and health care and education issues in the U.S. and Africa. He has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program and is currently a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Jackson, meanwhile, has starred in more than 100 movies ranging from indies to blockbusters. He earned an Oscar nomination for his iconic supporting turn in “Pulp Fiction.” He has starred in such films as “Spider-Man: Far from Home,” “Shaft,” “The Hateful Eight,” “Chi-Raq,” “Django Unchained,” “Black Snake Moan,” “Unbreakable,” “Jackie Brown,” “Eve’s Bayou,” “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” “A Time to Kill,” “The Great White Hype,” “Die Hard with a Vengeance,” “True Romance,” “Jurassic Park,” “Menace II Society,” “Jungle Fever,” “Mo’ Better Blues” and “Do the Right Thing,” as well as entries in the “Star Wars,” “Avengers,” “Iron Man” and “Incredibles” series.
May made her mark as a writer/director with “A New Leaf,” in which she also starred, “Mikey and Nicky” and “Ishtar,” and also directed “The Heartbreak Kid.” Her screenwriting credits include “The Birdcage” and she received Oscar nominations for the adapted screenplays for “Heaven Can Wait” (1978) and “Primary Colors” (1998). In the early 1960s, May achieved great success as a creative and romantic partner of Mike Nichols, whom she met in an improvisational theater group, as a comedy team on stage and television.
Ullmann began her career as a stage actress in her native Norway. She came to the attention of international audiences in Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona,” the first film she made with the Swedish auteur before going on to become his partner and muse. Their notable collaborations include “The Passion of Anna,” “Cries and Whispers,” and “Autumn Sonata.” Ullmann received Oscar nominations for Best Actress for “The Emigrants” (1971) and Bergman’s “Face to Face” (1976). She made her directorial debut in 1992 with “Sofie” and later directed “Faithless,” from a script by Bergman.