Oscars celebrate May, Jackson, Ullmann and Glover


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.





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