Veteran actor James Earl Jones will be honored for his 50-plus years in the film industry with an honorary Oscar at Saturday (Nov. 12) evening’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Governors Awards.
The 80-year-old actor, well-known for his distinctively deep voice, is receiving the award for his lifetime of work in the film industry, which he’s done in addition to stage, TV and commercial acting.
“I have been very content with my career and very happy, even though I am not primarily a film actor, and that makes it even more astonishing that I would get this award,” Jones told The Washington Post.
So surprised was Jones to receive the award, in fact, that according to the Associated Press, when the Academy called in August to say they were honoring him with an Oscar, the humble actor thought it was a joke.
“Once we accepted it as not a prank, we started laughing and haven’t stopped laughing since,” said Jones, who got his big screen break in “Dr. Strangelove” and is perhaps most remembered as the voice of voice of Darth Vadar in the Star Wars trilogy and Mufasa in The Lion King.
The Academy will host the 2011 Governors Awards tonight in Los Angeles, and James will join in on the ceremony via video from London – where he’s currently starring alongside Vanessa Redgrave in a stage version of ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ – to accept his honorary Oscar.
In addition to James Earl Jones, Oprah Winfrey, and makeup artist Dick Smith will also receive awards at the 2011 Governors Awards.
Winfrey, who made her film debut in 1985’s The Color Purple, is being honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an accolade given to an individual in the film industry making humanitarian improvements.