At the Academy’s event on November 19 evening at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Century City, Martinique-born director Euzhan Palcy, American songwriter Diane Warren, and Australian director Peter Weir were present to receive their honorary Oscars. Michael J. Fox was also present at the event to receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

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Due to COVID, the awards were postponed last year and instead took place just two days before the Oscars in March. Almost everyone who has a movie in the Oscar race, including Paul Dano and Michelle Williams of “The Fablemans,” Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry of “Causeway,” and Laura Dern of “The Son,” was present to honour the quartet.

Cher, Tom Hanks, Ron Howard, Olivia Wilde, Florence Pugh, Jonathan Majors, Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Austin Butler, Aldis Hodge, Gabrielle Union, Jeremy Pope, Glen Powell, Angela Bassett, Margot Robbie, and Jean Smart were also among the guests.

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The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an Oscar trophy given “to an individual in the motion picture arts and sciences whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry,” was given to “Back to the Future” star Fox.

Fox said after receiving the honour, “It is a wholly unexpected honor and I’m truly grateful. It has struck me that everything I’ve been given — success, my life with Tracy, my family had prepared me for this profound opportunity and responsibility. It was a gift.”

Diane Warren, who has been nominated for 13 Oscars but has never won one until her Governors Award, cried as she spoke about her late parents. “I just love that I get to do this, that I get to write songs, that I get to write a song from a movie that can make someone cry, give someone hope, make someone feel something, make a memorable moment, something they might remember their whole life — this is what I was born to do. This is what I just love to do,” she said.

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The six-time Oscar nominee Weir reflected on his career as a director of movies like “Witness” and remembered some of his late coworkers, including Norman Lloyd and Robin Williams. “It was amazing to watch him when there wasn’t a crowd around, just two or three people, when he would will be seized by this inspiration and become this sort of extraordinary character,” Weir said of Williams.

Palcy, whose film “A Dry White Season” earned Marlon Brando his final Oscar nomination, delivered a fiery, motivational speech at the event’s conclusion, explaining why she stopped making movies because she was “exhausted” by the struggle to persuade people of her point of view.

She said, “I had lost my willingness to hear those words, Black is not bankable, female is not bankable, Black and female is not bankable. Come on guys! Look at look at my sister standing by me. Black is bankable. Female is bankable. Black and female is bankable! My stories are not Black. My stories are not white. My stories are universal, they are colorful. I congratulate the Academy for helping to lead the charge to change our industry and for opening the doors to that were closed to the ideas and vision that I championed for so long.”