AP

Oscars celebrate May, Jackson, Ullmann and Glover

Mar 25, 2022, 11:54 PM | Updated: 11:58 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Elaine May was the last to arrive and the first to leave at the Governors Awards on Friday in Los Angeles.

Her fellow honorees, Samuel L. Jackson, Liv Ullmann and Danny Glover, all arrived hours earlier, each holding court at the Ray Dolby Ballroom, posing for photos and enjoying their moment amid the lead-up to the 94th Academy Awards.

It was a celebration, after all. They were about to get something for the first time in their long Hollywood careers: An Oscar statuette of their own.

Jackson, whose right foot was in a walking cast boot and his left in a black velvet slipper, sat at the base of an oversized Oscar statuette as everyone from Quentin Tarantino to Magic Johnson came over to congratulate him.

But May, the 89-year-old writer, filmmaker and comedy legend, walked into the Ray Dolby Ballroom arm in arm with Bill Murray long after attendees had finished their chicken pot pies, accepted her honorary Oscar with grace and wit, then departed soon after — still linked to Murray.

Yes, it’s the kind of move that could upend a live broadcast. But at the Governors Awards, there are no television cameras. Everyone is simply delighted to be celebrating living legends who are long overdue for their Oscar moment. With beautiful clip montages and emotional tributes — from the likes of Denzel Washington for Jackson, John Lithgow for Ullmann, and Alfre Woodard for Glover — it’s the kind of show that reminds you why you love movies and the people who make them.

The Governors Awards is often a stop for Oscar hopefuls on the campaign trail, but this year’s ceremony was delayed because of the pandemic. Though less star-studded than usual, there was also a silver lining to holding the event after Oscars voting had ended: The focus stayed squarely on the honorees and their legacies.

Murray, of course, was there to fete May, a two-time Oscar nominee for writing “Heaven Can Wait” and “Primary Colors.” He ignored the teleprompter speech and praised, “The most attractive, intelligent woman I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with.”

A highlight reel of her work was played, including her comedy act with Mike Nichols and the films she directed, acted in, wrote and ghost wrote (like “Tootsie”).

Lily Tomlin, Kenneth Lonergan, Billy Crystal and Nathan Lane praised her confidence of tone and how her films, from “A New Leaf” to “Mikey and Nicky,” were all so important and so different from one another.

May — who Lonergan teased, saying she “Gives the best tribute speeches of all time” — kept her moment on stage brief.

“They told me Zelenskyy would introduce me tonight, but thank God they got Bill instead,” May said, referring to Ukraine’s president. She also quipped about the event being held in-person, saying, “I’m afraid of COVID but I think this is very nice.”

It was Jackson’s turn next, and Washington, the only current Oscar nominee in the room, was there to tout his friend’s 152 movie titles, his $27 billion at the box office, his “11 times Nick Fury and one time the ‘Django,'” and his and his wife’s charitable efforts.

“This thing is going to be cherished,” said Jackson, 73, proudly holding his Oscar and marveling that a little kid with a stutter from Chattanooga, Tennessee, made it this far.

“I got out there to entertain audiences the way Hollywood entertained me,” he said. “It’s truly been an honor and privilege to entertain you.”

Lithgow, in toasting the great Norwegian actor Ullmann, said people often say she had Swedish director Ingmar Bergman to thank for her career. But, he said, “Bergman would have never been called one of our greatest filmmakers without Liv Ullmann.”

The two worked together on Broadway in a production of Eugene O’Neill’s “Anna Christie.”

“I’ve seen a lot of great acting in my day but I’ve never seen anything like that,” Lithgow said.

On stage, Ullmann, who was nominated twice for best actress, for Jan Troell’s “The Emigrants,” from 1971, and Bergman’s “Face to Face,” from 1976, recalled her disastrous first audition for a Norwegian theater school in which she was cut off in the middle of a scene from “Romeo and Juliet” — and the comfort she got afterwards from her grandmother, who nurtured her creative spirit.

In Norway, she said, people aren’t supposed to brag or show off.

“That’s why I brought 20 people here from Norway so they can say, ‘It is true she did get an Oscar,'” Ullmann said.

Glover also kept family and heritage at the forefront while accepting the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. The 75-year-old known for his roles in “Lethal Weapon” and “The Color Purple” has been a progressive activist for many years, advocating for civil rights, working as a United Nations goodwill ambassador and a U.N. children’s agency ambassador.

His mother grew up in Jim Crow-era Georgia and his father served in World War II before coming to San Francisco, where they both worked for the postal service and instilled civic responsibility in their young son.

“I’m amazingly grateful for this moment,” Glover said, speaking at length about his grandparents’ decision to send their kids to school instead of work.

“I haven’t referred to the teleprompter at all. Sometimes we as actors get a little lost without a script,” he said. “But I’m proud to be part of this space and place.”

___

Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Several hundred students and pro-Palestinian supporters rally at the intersection of Grove and Coll...

Associated Press

Pro-Palestinian protests sweep US college campuses following mass arrests at Columbia

NEW YORK (AP) — Columbia canceled in-person classes, dozens of protesters were arrested at New York University and Yale, and the gates to Harvard Yard were closed to the public Monday as some of the most prestigious U.S. universities sought to defuse campus tensions over Israel’s war with Hamas. More than 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators who […]

10 hours ago

Ban on sleeping outdoors under consideration in Supreme Court...

Associated Press

With homelessness on the rise, the Supreme Court weighs bans on sleeping outdoors

The Supreme Court is wrestling with major questions about the growing issue of homelessness as it considers a ban on sleeping outdoors.

11 hours ago

Arizona judge declares mistrial in case of rancher who shot migrant...

Associated Press

Arizona judge declares mistrial in the case of a rancher accused of fatally shooting a migrant

An Arizona judge declared a mistrial in the case of rancher accused of killing a Mexican man on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border.

12 hours ago

Donald Trump appears in court for opening statements in his criminal trial for allegedly covering u...

Associated Press

Trump tried to ‘corrupt’ the 2016 election, prosecutor alleges as hush money trial gets underway

Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York over alleged hush money payments started with opening statements on Monday.

21 hours ago

This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows Iran's nuclear site in Isfahan, Iran, April 4, 2024...

Associated Press

Israel, Iran play down apparent Israeli strike. The muted responses could calm tensions — for now

Israel and Iran are both playing down an apparent Israeli airstrike near a major air base and nuclear site in central Iran.

3 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., talks to reporters just after lawmakers pushed a $95 bill...

Associated Press

Ukraine, Israel aid advances in rare House vote as Democrats help Republicans push it forward

The House pushed ahead Friday on a foreign aid package of $95 billion for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other sources of humanitarian support.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Oscars celebrate May, Jackson, Ullmann and Glover