Though they didn’t take the stage during the segment, there’s no question those who received honorary accolades at Sunday’s (March 2) 86th Academy Awards were worthy.
Presenter Kevin Spacey announced the quartet: Stage and screen legend Angela Lansbury, who’s returning to the stage in her native London in “Blithe Spirit”; actor-writer-comedian Steve Martin, whose work has kept audiences “in stitches and in thought,” Spacey noted; veteran costume designer Piero Tosi; and Angelina Jolie, given the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for what Spacey cited as her “courageous, compassionate work” to aid women and children throughout the world.
Pointing to Jolie sitting in the audience next to her clearly proud partner Brad Pitt, Spacey concluded by imitating his mentor Jack Lemmon and his line, “That’s a taste of terrific,” leading into clips of last November’s ceremony at which the honorary awards were given. Tom Hanks, Geoffrey Rush, George Lucas and costume designer Jeffrey Kurland were among those speaking about the recipients.
In a segment of her acceptance speech, Lansbury said, “You can’t imagine how proud and happy I feel.” And looking at her Oscar, she modestly added that she also felt “undeserving of this golden chap.”
Jolie used her November speech to recall her late mother, who, she said not only loved film but its potential to inspire positive action in the world. “That is what film is for,” Jolie recalled her mother saying. “To stand here today,” the actress-director-activist noted through tears, “means I did as she asked.”