Jackson was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science’s annual Governors Awards on Friday night.
With all the controversy about which awards are being presented during Sunday night’s Oscars broadcast and which ones are being relegated to a non-televised ceremony before the show begins — with a montage during — one of the biggest fan-favorite moments was skipped entirely .
Somehow, despite appearing in almost every movie that’s been released since his birth, Samuel L. Jackson had never won an Oscar. At least, that was the case before his dear friend and colleague Denzel Washington rectified this gross oversight on Friday night.
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Jackson was honored with a lifetime achievement award during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences annual Governors Awards ceremony on Friday night, but it was an even that wasn’t televised or streamed anywhere.
One of the biggest and most-beloved stars of all time receiving a long overdue statuette by another of the biggest and most-beloved stars of all time, and we all missed it? It’s possible there will be at least a snippet of this joyous moment during Sunday’s broadcast, but it’s still something fans might have appreciated seeing live.
Washington was ebullient as he listed off all of Jackson’s sterling credits, both on-screen and through his charitable work. He made particular note that it is quite possible Jackson is the most successful movie star of all time, by box office, with his films having earned $27 billion there.
Jackson was clearly touched in his own speech, joking about how his career started with him scoring major roles like “Gang Member Number 2” and “Black Guy” to featuring in more than 150 projects. While there were no TV cameras broadcasting live, fans could at least catch some of the highlights of this special moment by following The New York Times’ Kyle Buchanan on Twitter.
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Making it even more frustrating for Oscar fans is that this award used to be televised, too. The Oscars broadcast used to include the Irving G. Thahlberg Memorial Award, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, and the Academy Honorary Award.
There were three recipients of the latter award, including Jackson. Bill Murray introduced comedy legend Elaine May, while John Lithgow presented Ingmar Bergman collaborator Liv Ullman with her award. Danny Glover went political in his speech accepting the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, talking about all the misinformation surrounding “critical race theory” and The 1619 Project.
With declining ratings, the Academy shunted all of these awards to its own non-televised event more than a decade ago, back in 2009, to make room for more on-air spectacle.
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This year, the Academy made the controversial decision to remove even more awards categories from the broadcast that have traditionally drawn less enthusiasm from home viewers. Are they taking notes from the Golden Globes in making it all about the biggest stars?
This year, the following awards will be given in a non-televised ceremony before the live broadcast begins (coverage of this ceremony will be edited into the show):
- Best Live Action Shorts
- Best Animated Shorts
- Best Documentary Short
- Best Original Score
- Best Production Design
- Best Film Editing
- Best Makeup and Hairstyling
The remaining Oscars will be handed out during “The 94th Annual Academy Awards,” tonight at 8 pm ET on ABC.