Cicely Tyson, 93, Makes History as First Black Woman to Receive an Honorary Oscar

Cicely Tyson is finally getting a well-deserved Oscar. She is a legend. The 93-year-old, who was nominated for a statuette once before in 1973 for her performance in Sounder, has been announced as one of the recipients of this year’s Honorary Awards. She’ll be recognized alongside publicist Marvin Levy and composer Lalo Schifrin, a six-time nominee for films like Cool Hand Luke and The Amityville Horror. In addition, producing power duo Kathleen Kennedy (who also runs Lucasfilm) and Frank Marshall will be given the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. The Governors Awards will take place on November 18.

“Choosing the honorees for its awards each year is the happiest of all the Board of Governors’ work,” Academy President John Bailey said in a statement. “And this year, its selection of five iconic artists was made with universal acclaim by the Academy’s 54 spirited governors.”

Tyson began her career as a model and a theater actress with her first big screen role in 1968’s The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, starring actor Alan Arkin. Four years later, in 1972, the star received an Academy Award nomination for her leading performance in Sounder.

The star, who has won a Tony, two Emmys, and even a Presidential Medal of Freedom, will make history at the Governors Awards as the first black woman to receive an Oscar in the honorary award category.

The actress has been making waves since her career kicked off in 1957, quickly breaking boundaries with turns in projects like Roots, Fried Green Tomatoes, and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman — a TV movie. She will again make history at the Governors Awards, as she is the first black woman to receive an Oscar in the honorary award category.


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