Oprah Winfrey received the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her philanthropic activities and as such can add the title of Oscar winner to her vast career. The award honors efforts meant to promote hope worldwide as well as goodwill towards the film industry.
In an interview for People magazine, the former talk show host declared she was surprised with receiving the award as her philanthropic efforts come naturally for her, being part of her calling. “If you are not a former colored girl born in Mississippi in 1954, it is impossible for you to know what this journey has meant”.
The Oscar was presented to Oprah by Maria Shiver, her former colleague at WJR-TV in Baltimore as several friends, including Tyler Perry, Sidney Poitier, Gayle King and John Travolta, took part in the ceremony.
During the Governors Awards, which took place in Los Angeles, more honorary Oscars have been handed in to happy recipients such as James Earl Jones and Dick Smith.
Oprah was previously nominated for an Oscar 25 years ago for her performance in The Color Purple when she played the part of Sofia. Later on the film became a Broadway musical with Winfrey as producer.
During her career as actress, Oprah stared in her own production of Beloved, a movie based on a Pulitzer awarded novel signed by Toni Morrison. For this part the actress spent a whole day in the same conditions her slave character had lived her life, tied up, blindfolded and left alone in the woods. She also was the voice of Gussie in Charlotte’s Web and Judge Bumbleden in Bee Movie. Her most recent acting part was voicing Eudora, mother of Princess Tiana in The Princess and the Frog, a Disney production.