Governors Awards: Samuel L. Jackson, Danny Glover, Elaine May and Liv Ullmann Set for Honorary Oscars

By Antonio Ferme

Popular on Variety

Samuel L. Jackson, Elaine May and Liv Ullmann will receive honorary Oscars this year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Thursday. Danny Glover will also receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. The four Oscar statuettes will be presented at the Governors Awards ceremony on Jan. 15, 2022.

“We are thrilled to present this year’s Governors Awards to four honorees who have had a profound impact on both film and society,” Academy president David Rubin said in a statement. “Sam Jackson is a cultural icon whose dynamic work has resonated across genres and generations and audiences worldwide, while Elaine May’s bold, uncompromising approach to filmmaking, as a writer, director and actress, reverberates as loudly as ever with movie lovers. Liv Ullmann’s bravery and emotional transparency has gifted audiences with deeply affecting screen portrayals, and Danny Glover’s decades-long advocacy for justice and human rights reflects his dedication to recognizing our shared humanity on and off the screen.”

Jackson, who received an Oscar nomination for his supporting performance in “Pulp Fiction,” has appeared in over 100 films ranging from independents to blockbusters. His largest franchise roles are Nick Fury in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, Mace Windu in the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy and Frozone in “The Incredibles.” He also appeared in such films as “Shaft,” “The Hateful Eight,” “Chi-Raq,” “Django Unchained,” “Black Snake Moan,” “Unbreakable,” “Jackie Brown,” “Eve’s Bayou,” “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” “A Time to Kill,” “The Great White Hype,” “Die Hard with a Vengeance,” “True Romance,” “Jurassic Park,” “Menace II Society,” “Jungle Fever,” “Mo’ Better Blues” and “Do the Right Thing.”

May made her mark as a writer-director with “A New Leaf,” in which she also starred, “Mikey and Nicky” and “Ishtar,” and also directed “The Heartbreak Kid.” Her screenwriting credits include “The Birdcage” and she received Oscar nominations for the adapted screenplays for “Heaven Can Wait” and “Primary Colors.” In the early 1960s, May achieved great success partnering with Mike Nichols, whom she met in an improvisational theater group, as a comedy team on stage and television.

Ullmann began her career as a stage actress in her native Norway. She came to the attention of international audiences in “Persona,” the first film she made with the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. Their notable collaboration went on to include “The Passion of Anna,” “Cries and Whispers” and “Autumn Sonata.” Ullmann received Oscar nominations for Best Actress for “The Emigrants” and “Face to Face.” She made her directorial debut in 1992 with “Sofie” and later directed “Faithless,” from a script by Bergman. Ullmann continued to work in theater for most of her career, making her New York stage debut in 1975 as Nora in “A Doll’s House.”

Glover is being recognized for his lifelong efforts advocating for economic justice as well as access to health care and education in the United States and Africa. The actor, who currently serves as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, is best known for starring as Roger Murtaugh in the “Lethal Weapon” franchise. He has also appeared in “To Sleep with Anger,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Dreamgirls,” “Beyond the Lights” and “Sorry to Bother You.”

The Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, is given “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.”

The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, on the other hand, is given “to an individual in the motion picture arts and sciences whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”

Lifetime achievement Oscars and humanitarian prizes were included in the main awards broadcast until 2009.