“You guys are going to make me vibrate,” the trusty, self-effacing Michael J. Fox told the audience after a lengthy standing ovation while receiving an honorary Oscar on Saturday night at the Motion Picture Academy’s Governors Awards.
Fox was honored along with songwriter Diane Warren and filmmakers Peter Weir (Witness, Society of Dead Poets) and Euzhan Palcy (Sugar cane alley, A dry white season) during the star event that finally seemed to mark Hollywood’s return to normal after years of disruption due to COVID and a 2022 Oscar ceremony tainted by Will Smith attacking Chris Rock.
The tip sheet read like an A-list who’s who: Cher. Tom Hanks. Robert Downey Jr. Jennifer Lawrence. Jordan Peele. Margaret Robbie. Adam Sandler. Olivia Wilde. Kate Blanchett. Violet Davis. Priscilla Presley. Colin Farrell. Jeff Bridges. Jamie Lee Curtis. Keke Palmer. Florence Pug. J. J. Abrams. Ron Howard. Jessica Chatain.
They were just a fraction of the bold names that mingled, drank champagne, and feasted on beet salad and cod, where this reporter didn’t hear a word about “The Slap.”
Mindy Kaling closes out the night, lightly toasting some of the lhonorees. “Where was Alex P. Keaton on January 6?” Office and Mindy project alum cracked up about Fox’s black sheep Republican relative from his popular ’80s sitcom Family ties.
Fox Doctor Hollywood co-star and longtime friend Woody Harrelson introduced the 61-year-old Back to the future star, who received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his tireless advocacy for Parkinson’s research, a cause for which he has raised more than $1 billion since diagnosing the disease in 1991.
Warren also received some of the biggest cheers of the night after finally (And last but not least!) who took home an Oscar, which was presented to her by her longtime friend and collaborator Cher. Warren has been nominated 13 times for a competitive Academy Award, but has never won. Her speech was reliably candid. A regular at the Governors Awards, Warren has never shied away from admitting that she really, really wants to win an Oscar.
Weir, a five-time nominee who is now retired after directing such films as Picnic at Hanging Rock, Gallipoli, Master and Commander, Green cardwas celebrated by his Fearless starring Jeff Bridges, while the groundbreaking Palcy was celebrated by Viola Davis.
Behind the scenes, the Governors Awards act as the unofficial kick-off to Oscar season campaigns, as studios and streamers drop hefty sums to secure tables and tickets for their biggest award contenders. Universally invited The Fables cast members Michelle Williams, Paul Dano and Judd Hirsch (director Steven Spielberg was one of the night’s most notable absentees) and She said co-stars Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan. Paramount had talent of Babylon and Top gun: Maverick. Kevin Feige, Ryan Coogler, and Danai Gurira were in house for Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Netflix brought Rian Johnson and cast members from Glass onionas well as two-time Best Director winner Alejandro G. Iñárritu (now promoting bardo) and Blond star Ana de Armas, among others.
Watching all the power players and Oscar crusaders cross streams is part of the fun of the Governors Awards – and everyone in attendance has their favorites.
Eddie Redmayne (The good nurse), fresh from being dazzled by the red carpet camera flashes (“I’m still not used to that one,” he laughed), spoke excitedly about the unconventional cinema of Everything Everywhere Everything at once, Blonde and Triangle of sadness. Rian Johnson revealed how much he loved The Banshees of Inisherin and The Fablesand said he was excited to watch Triangle. Iñárritu revealed that he hasn’t seen much else this year Holy spiderbut was about to go into screeners.
Gabrielle Union, who puts in her best performance in The inspection, admitted she was ill-prepared for the politics that come with price campaigns. todd field (tar) explained why he hadn’t made a movie so far since the 2006 wrapper Small children (in short, he focused on his family and paid the bills with commercial work).
Elsewhere, a pumped-up Laura Dern rushed to greet Adam Sandler (there for his underrated Netflix sports drama Rushan outside but deserving contender), while the man Sandler was talking to happily told Dern that he was one of the financiers of her imminent release The son (welcome to Hollywood). Jaylyn Hall, the teen star who plays Emmett Till in the crushing drama Untilcouldn’t wait to meet The Sandman either.
Taron Egerton (last seen in the miniseries Black bird and a day before he attended Rocketman inspiration Elton John’s last show at Dodger Stadium) talked to Jennifer Lawrence (Elevated road) at their Apple TV+ table in what looked like a scene from a random wedding where two strangers sit together and chat. One night in Miami playwright-screenwriter Kemp Powers and co-star Aldis Hodge reunited at another table across the room, while Gurira made it out with future MCU villain Jonathan Majors (Dedication), who will play Kang in Marvel’s Phase 5.
However, one of the most sought-after attendees of the evening was Ke Huy Quan, the former 1980s child star from The Goonies and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom whose comeback role in the mind bending Everything everywhere at once could earn him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in March.
Jordan Peele had a long, warm conversation with Quan. It is widely speculated that Peele de no character played by Steven Yeun – a former child star who was exploited by Hollywood for cultural stereotyping of comic relief roles before abandoning him as he got older – based on Quan.
Colin Farrell also told us how much he would love to see Quan back in the spotlight. The banshees star stood just feet from Brendan Fraser, a comeback kid in his own right for his agonizing drama The whaleand very likely Farrell’s premier Best Actor competition, as both are shooting for their first Oscar.
Expect those two to share a lot of space over the next few months.