When Oprah Winfrey received the call from the Academy about being tapped with the Hersholt Award, she simply said, “Huh?”
“I love acting, but I don’t have a strong repertoire of films, so I was surprised and understood the criticism from people about me getting it,” explains Winfrey, who presented the same award to Quincy Jones years ago. “There are many other actresses who are or would be deserving. I am pleased to get it and really honored for the opportunity to be able to stand with my peers and accept it in the name of trying to do something good for people.”
Winfrey has packed punch in the handful of projects she’s boarded, even receiving an Oscar nomination for her supporting turn in “The Color Purple.” But nearly 15 years have elapsed since Winfrey the actress last performed in front of the camera in Jonathan Demme’s “Beloved.”
“For years, I couldn’t do it,” says Winfrey, because the taping schedule of her talkshow wouldn’t permit. With the show over, she has more flexibility. “If a film comes along that I feel really speaks to me, I would do it.”
She says she is talking to helmers Tyler Perry, Lee Daniels and Demme about potential roles.
“I am the most relaxed I have ever been in my life doing a film because it’s the only real vacation I get (and) I no longer have to be myself,” she says. “I just love the opportunity to submerge into somebody else’s life and not to have to deal with my own for a while.”
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