Oprah Winfrey received an honorary Oscar for her charitable worktoday in what she called an unimaginable moment for a black womanwho grew up poor in Mississippi and rose to the top of Hollywoodstardom.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences annually bestowsits Governors Awards on people who have made an impact in theindustry.
This year, the honorary Oscars went to Winfrey, actor James EarlJones and makeup artist Dick Smith at a black-tie affair thatbrought out stars such as John Travolta, Glenn Close and AlecBaldwin.
Talk show host and film actress Winfrey, who was nominated for asupporting-actress Academy Award in 1985's The Color Purple, wasgiven a Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award by a young woman who wassent through high school on a financial grant she earned fromWinfrey's foundation.
Winfrey teared up when accepting her honorary Oscar anddescribed the moment as "unimaginable" given her humble rootsgrowing up in Mississippi.
"All of us can make a difference through the life we lead,"Winfrey said. "We're all here to help each other."
She talked of her career as a TV chat show host and her moviework, and said it was The Color Purple that paved the way tostardom which, ultimately, led to philanthropy.
That movie "door opened to me through the magic and majesty offilm," she said.
James Earl Jones was given his honorary Oscar for a body ofacting work that ranges from his Academy Award-nominatedperformance as a boxer in "The Great White Hope" to voicing therole of the villainous Darth Vader in the "Star Wars" movies.
Jones was not on hand because he is in working in London, but hespoke to the Los Angeles audience in a speech that was tapedearlier today.
He said he was "deeply honored, mighty grateful and just plaingobsmacked," using British slang for being astounded.
Finally, the "Godfather of makeup" Dick Simon was given anhonorary Oscar for his behind-the-scenes work using makeup andprosthetics to make actors look old, young, sick, dying and dead infilms ranging from The Exorcist to The Godfather.
Simon gave a tearful and heartfelt acceptance speech in which hesaid he has loved every minute of his work in the movie business."This kind of puts the crowning cap on all that," Simon said.
The Oscars, or Academy Awards, for the films of 2011 will begiven out in a ceremony in Los Angeles on February 26.
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