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The 67th Annual Tony Awards - Press Room

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Cicely Tyson has become the first black woman to receive an honorary Oscar. According to VIBE, Tyson received the honor at the Academy’s 10th annual Governors Awards, which took place on Sunday (November 18th). Ava DuVernay introduced Tyson, while she received tributes from Oprah and Quincy Jones.

Tyson has only been nominated for an Oscar once in her 67-year-long career, and that was for her performance in Sounder in 1972. During her acceptance speech, Tyson reflected on the day she flew out to do the film. She said, “45 years ago, I was offered a movie entitled Sounder. It was the first major movie I would have done in my career. On the way to the airport to fly out there, I stopped by a very close and longtime dear friend’s home to share the news with him. I said ‘I’m going out to Hollywood to do my first big movie.’ He looked at me and he said, ‘And you’re going to be nominated for an Academy Award. I laughed at him and I said, ‘And if I am, you will fly out and you will be my escort. I was nominated and he flew out to be my escort. The event was held on his birthday.”

Quincy Jones also said, “Her work, grace, dignity, class, humility and profound professionalism firmly placed her on the pedestal of Hollywood royalty, and now, at long last, I could not be more honored to say that tonight, Cicely Tyson receives her more than well-deserved Oscar.” While DuVernay cited Tyson for being “the seed for so many of us, the rose that we adore.” Other guests to attend the Governors Awards included Lupita Nyong’oLee DanielsTyler PerryBarry Jenkins, Steve McQueenChadwick Boseman, Shonda RhimesSpike LeeAnita HillMahershala AliMichael B. Jordan and Dania Guria.