The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored Angelina Jolie, Steve Martin and Angela Lansbury at Governors Awards on Saturday, November 16. Along with Piero Tosi, they were the recipients of Honorary Oscars at the star-studded ceremony taking place at the Ray Dolby Ballroom.
Jolie, who was accompanied by longtime partner Brad Pitt and son Maddox, looked radiant in a black gown. She was feted by actress Gena Rowlands and director George Lucas before taking the stage to receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her work with the United Nations Refugee Agency.
"How does she have time to do all this?" asked Rowlands, who co-starred Jolie in 1998's film "Playing By Heart". "She acts, writes and directs. Has a large family. About 20 at last count. And she has to keep that smile on Brad's face." Lucas added, "I met Angie a long time ago. I said the one true thing you can do is have children. I didn't think she'd take me so seriously."
The "Maleficent" actress held back tears as she delivered her acceptance speech. She first thanked Pitt for his "support and guidance" that "make everything possible." She then recalled her experience meeting the refugees.
"When I met survivors of war and rape, I knew how fortunate I was," the 38-year-old mother of 6 said. "I realized how sheltered I had been. I was determined to never be that way again. We all in this room are so fortunate. I don't understand why I have this life and a woman across the world who has the same work ethic, same desires, and would make better films is stuck in a refugee camp."
She continued, "She has no voice. She worries about what her children would eat, how to keep them safe, and if they can return home. I don't know why this is my life and that is hers. I don't understand. But I will do my best to be in service to them. If my mother was alive she would be proud."
Martin Short took the chance to roast his "The Three Amigos" co-star, Steve Martin. "It's the highest award an actor can receive in mid-November," Short said. "Congratulations amigo. You are an original. Steve's body of work will be studied long after we're gone. Two things are timeless ... the artistry of Steve Martin and community college."
Martin himself got teary as he accepted his Oscar for a lifetime of achievement in film. "To get an award for something that has seeped into your bones ... this has been an amazing gift, can't be matched, wonderful and magical," he said. "Friends ... fascinating, funny, and lifelong, many of whom are here. It's a glorious reminder of the true benefit I have received."
Emma Thompson and Geoffrey Rush paid tribute to Lansbury. "Are you the living definition of range. When they are talking about the golden age of Hollywood, aren't they just talking about you?" Rush said of the "Murder, She Wrote" actress.
Italian costume designer Tosi was not present that night. Other celebrity guests in attendance included Tom Hanks, Amy Adams, Octavia Spencer, Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Mark Wahlberg, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jennifer Garner, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ben Stiller, Jared Leto, Bill Hader, Judd Apatow and rising star Michael B. Jordan.