Angela Bassett Receives An Honorary Oscar

The 65-year-old actress is just the second black woman who received the lifetime achievement award.

Leaving a mark in the world is almost everyone’s goal. Living a life so significant that your actions made waves, your words spoke volumes, and your steps made strides is a dream for many. Furthermore, being an example is an achievement no one can take lightly. One of the leading black actresses in the US, in the world even, Angela Bassett, has achieved such an outstanding feat. 

Angela Bassett/ Photo via Instagram @im.angelabassett

Bassett is known for playing the queen of Wakanda in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Her regal portrayal of the fictional queen in the cinematic universe gave her The Honorary Award (Oscar statuette). Furthermore, she received the award during the 14th Governors Awards. 

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What Are The Governors Awards? 

According to their website, the Governors Awards started in 2009 when the Board of Governors for The Academy established an annual event. The annual event celebrates the awardees of the testimonial awards. Moreover, the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, and the Honorary Award ​​are the three testimonial awards given during the annual awards.

L-R Carol Littleton, Mel Brooks, Angela Bassett, and Michelle Satter/ Photo via Governors Awards website

The selection process for the awards involves a special meeting amongst the Academy’s Boards in June to select the year’s honorees. For the Household and Thalberg Award, there can only be one honoree. On the other hand, the Board gives not more than four testimonial awards in a single year.

 Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award

The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award is for producers whose portfolios continuously demonstrate a high caliber of film production. The name of the award comes from the man who, at the age of 20, became head of production at the Universal Film Manufacturing Co. Thalberg also became the vice president and supervisor of production at MGM.

Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall are the recipients of the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award last 2018/ Photo via Governors Award website

Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

Individuals from the film industry who made humanitarian contributions attributed to the field are the honorees of this award. Jean Hersholt, a Danish actor and translator who was one of Hollywood’s most active philanthropists, is the namesake of the award.

Michelle Satter is the 2023 recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award/ Photo via Governors Award website

Honorary Award

The Honorary Award is a lifetime achievement award reserved for people in the industry who greatly contributed to the field or provided exceptional service to the Academy. The Honorary Award is not given yearly. Furthermore, the award may or may not be as an Oscar statuette—depending on the discretion of the Board. 

Mel Brooks is one of the recipients of the Honorary Award this 2023/ Photo via Governors Award website

Black Girl Magic 

Basset emotionally delivered her speech after receiving the Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette. In her speech, she thanked everyone who was with her in her career. From her family to the support staff she worked with in films—she gave them all their flowers. “I have considered acting my calling and not just my career. I do this work because I find this meaningful and I hope that in some way it makes a difference and has an impact,” she said. 

Angela Bassett/ Photo via Instagram @im.angelabassett

Bassett is the second black woman given the honorary Oscar. In her speech, she gave credit to all the powerful black women who helped pave the path for her. “To my fellow Black actresses, fill your hearts with courage and strength because regardless of what you may think or see or feel your contributions do matter,” she said. 

Banner photo via Instagram @im.angelabassett.

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