Samuel L. Jackson, Danny Glover, Elaine May, and More to Receive Honorary Oscars

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced today that early next year, Honorary Oscars will be presented to actors Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction), Liv Ullmann (Cries & Whispers), and writer/director/actor Elaine May (A New Leaf). These honorary awards are intended “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.”

Plus, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award will be presented to Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon). This prize is given every year “to an individual in the motion picture arts and sciences whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”

“We are thrilled to present this year’s Governors Awards to four honorees who have had a profound impact on both film and society,” Academy President David Rubin said in a statement. “Sam Jackson is a cultural icon whose dynamic work has resonated across genres and generations and audiences worldwide, while Elaine May’s bold, uncompromising approach to filmmaking, as a writer, director and actress, reverberates as loudly as ever with movie lovers. Liv Ullmann’s bravery and emotional transparency has gifted audiences with deeply affecting screen portrayals, and Danny Glover’s decades-long advocacy for justice and human rights reflects his dedication to recognizing our shared humanity on and off the screen.”

Jackson is one of those actors whose massive body of work belies his immense talent – he likes working, which means he’s been in a ton of bad movies over the years. But he’s also delivered indelible performances in films by Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, and Quentin Tarantino (to barely scratch the surface), and of course he remains an integral cog in the Marvel Studios machine.

Norwegian actress-turned-writer/director Liv Ullmann worked with acclaimed director Ingmar Bergman multiple times, in films like The Passion of Anna, Cries & Whispers, and Autumn Sonata. You may also recognize her from her work in The Emigrants or Face to Face. She acted from the late 1950s all the way up to 2012, and wrote and directed films like Sofie and Miss Julie.

Elaine May, who began her career as an influential comedian alongside Mike Nichols, only directed four movies in her career, including Ishtar, a film that has a reputation as one of the biggest bombs in Hollywood history. But there seems to have been a critical reevaluation of that film and her entire body of work over the past couple of years, moving beyond the breathless headlines that accompanied the productions of her films and appreciating them in a whole new way decades later. She’s wonderful on camera in A New Leaf opposite Walter Matthau, and her next two films, the romance dramedy The Heartbreak Kid and a gangster indie called Mikey and Nicky, showed her tremendous range as a filmmaker.

Danny Glover played Roger Murtaugh in four Lethal Weapon films, and starred in The Color Purple, Angels in the Outfield, Lonesome Dove, The Royal Tenenbaums, Sorry to Bother You, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, and tons more.

This collection of folks has three Oscar nominations between them with zero wins, but that will change when these awards are handed out at next year’s Governor’s Awards, which will be held on January 15, 2022.

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