Pete Hammond was at the Governors Awards in Los Angeles last night, where actor James Earl Jones and makeup master Dick Smith received honorary Oscars and where Oprah Winfrey was presented with a humanitarian award. His dispatch on Deadline today was chock-a-block with the colors and emotions running high at the ceremony, a few samples of which we’ve highlighted here.
Best Outfit: No, not the red carpet, but Academy President Tom Sherak taking the podium in full Darth Vader regalia. (For those non-Star Wars fans out there, first, shame on you, and secondly, James Earl Jones was the voice of Darth Vader.)
Best Introductory Remarks: Actress Glenn Close had a few words to say about James Earl Jones’ stint on Broadway in Fences. “He is the only actor who has broken me apart and transformed me until I was a screaming slobbering mess. James Earl Jones is indeed a world treasure.”
Why Acceptance Speeches Are Best Short and Sweet: “If an actor’s nightmare is being onstage butt-naked and not knowing his lines, then what the hell is this? This is an actor’s wet dream. I am gobsmacked at this improbable moment in my life. You cannot be an actor like I am and not have been in some of the worst movies like I have. But I stand before you deeply honored, mighty grateful, and just plain godsmacked.” (James Earl Jones accepting his honorary Oscar.)
Best Dick Smith Anecdote: Super 8 director J.J. Abrams recounted an adorable little story involving the famed makeup maven, who worked on such projects as The Godfather, Amadeus, and The Exorcist. “One day a box arrived from Dick Smith with a note to me that said ‘Dear J.J. Here’s an old but clean tongue from The Exorcist’ — and it was signed Dick. My mother was very concerned about who this man was and why he was sending me tongues.”
Proof Oprah Doesn’t Know How Not to Be Inspiring: “I just wanted to feel what this is… It is unimaginable if you were not a black ‘colored girl’ in Mississippi in 1954 to know what this means. When I saw The Help and read the book it was my story. My grandmother was a maid, her mother was a maid, her mother before her was a slave. This is unimaginable…”
Best Description of Oprah Winfrey Fandom: Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody describing to Hammond what it is like to be in the same room as the queen of television. “I feel like I have just freebased Oprah.”