After a career spanning nearly six decades in the entertainment industry, Cicely Tyson, 93, has made history countless times for her acting performances, her daring fashion choices, and the dynamic way that she continues to pave the way for so women in the industry.
And earlier this week, at the 2018 Governors Awards in Hollywood, California, Miss Tyson made history yet again – and this time, in a very big way.
Tyson began her career in Hollywood playing small roles in both film and television before her big break came in 1972 when she played Rebecca Morgan in Sounder, a role that granted her an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination.
After that, Tyson’s career took off and she has continued to be a prominent figure in the entertainment industry to this day, best known for playing strong African-American women on both the big screen and stage.
Throughout her illustrious career, Tyson has won three Emmy’s, a Tony award, and been nominated for countless other – and at the recent Governors Award, Tyson added another award to her collection when she became the first African American woman to receive the honorary Oscar.
Tyler Perry, Ava DuVernay, and Quincy Jones presented Tyson with her award, with Jones providing a beautiful introduction, saying, “Her work, grace, dignity, class, humility and profound professionalism firmly placed her on the pedestal of Hollywood royalty, and now, at long last, I could not be more honored to say that tonight, Cicely Tyson receives her more than well-deserved Oscar.”
Tyson gracefully took the stage in her stunning metallic gown and matching metallic gloves where she gave an acceptance speech for her honorary Oscar that was every bit as iconic as the legendary actress herself.
She began her speech with a nod to her first major movie role in Sounder, followed by a touching story about a close friend of hers that predicted that she would be nominated for an Oscar so many years ago.
When she was, in fact, nominated for that Oscar as her friend predicted back in 1973, she called that friend and asked them to escort her to the Oscars.
Which is why it was only fitting that when she recently received a call, nearly fifty years later, that she was going to be awarded the honorary Oscar for 2018, she called that same friend and left him a message saying, “I want to share something with you. This time, I have it, and this time I am asking you to repeat your performance and escort me to California to accept this treasure.”
Sadly, as Tyson explained to the rapt audience, her friend never heard her message due to being very ill and sadly, passing several days later. Tyson revealed that her dear friend was the brilliant Arthur Miller as she addressed him in her speech, “I know, however, Arthur, wherever you are, that this is what you were promising me, and I want to thank you.”
Tyson went on to pay tribute to and honor other strong, influential females like Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg, proving that she is every bit the class act that we all know her to be. She concluded her speech by saying, “You know … next month on December 19, I’m going to be 94 years old. And I don’t know that I would cherish a better gift than this. This is the culmination of all those years of have and have-nots. And God bless you all. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
At that point, there was nary a dry eye in the audience as the crowd erupted into a roaring applause.
Congratulations Ms. Tyson on a lifetime of brilliant performances and a long-overdue award.
What do you think of Cicely Tyson’s acceptance speech? What is your favorite film or television show with Cicely Tyson? Share your thoughts below and join the conversation!!