The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored Cicely Tyson Sunday with an honorary Oscar.
Tyson is the first Black actress to receive an honorary Oscar from the Academy. Still, she had indeed already gone into the history books for being nominated for an Academy Award in 1973 for her role in Sounder as Rebecca Morgan.
Receiving her honorary statuette, Tyson also addressed the audience, which included actors such as Oscar winner Mahershala Ali, Regina King and even Oprah Winfrey. The actress invoked the memory of her late mother, Frederica.
“Mom, I know you didn’t want me to do this,” she said, according to The Hollywood Reporter, referring to her mother, “but I did and here it is. For the longest time, I wanted to hear something positive from her. When I did [the Emmy-winning TV movie] Jane Pittman…she said, ‘I am so proud of you.’ If I had not heard those words from her, none of this would make a difference to me.”
Tyler Perry, Quincy Jones and Ava DuVernay presented Tyson with the award, with DuVernay noting that Tyson was “the seed for so many of us, the rose that we adore.”
“Her work, grace, dignity, class, humility and profound professionalism firmly placed her on the pedestal of Hollywood royalty,” Jones added, “and now, at long last, I could not be more honored to say that tonight, Cicely Tyson receives her more than well-deserved Oscar.”