LOS ANGELES, Nov 13, (Agencies): When Jackie Chan saw an Oscar at Sylvester Stallone’s house 23 years ago, he said that was the moment he decided he wanted one.
On Saturday at the annual Governors Awards, the Chinese actor and martial arts star finally received his little gold statuette, an honorary Oscar for his decades of work in film.
“After 56 years in the film industry, making more than 200 films, after so many bones, finally,” Chan, 62, quipped at the star-studded gala dinner while holding his Oscar.
The actor recalled watching the ceremony with his parents and his father always asking him why he didn’t have Hollywood’s top accolade despite having made so many movies.
He praised his hometown Hong Kong for making him “proud to be Chinese,” and thanked his fans, saying they were the reason “I continue to make movies, jumping through windows, kicking and punching, breaking my bones.”
The actor was introduced by his “Rush Hour” co-star Chris Tucker, actress Michelle Yeoh and Tom Hanks, who referred to him as “Jackie ‘Chantastic’ Chan.”
Hanks said it was especially gratifying to be able to acknowledge Chan’s work because martial arts and action comedy films were two genres often overlooked during awards season.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, hosts of the annual ceremony, also bestowed honorary Oscars on British film editor Anne V. Coates, casting director Lynn Stalmaster and prolific documentarian Frederick Wiseman.
The evening was attended by Hollywood’s elite, including Denzel Washington, Lupita Nyong’o, Nicole Kidman, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Amy Adams and Dev Patel.
Stalmaster, 88, credited with securing career-defining roles for actors such as Jeff Bridges, Andy Garcia, Christopher Reeve and John Travolta, is the first casting director to receive an Oscar.
Coates, 90, who won the film editing Oscar for 1962’s “Lawrence of Arabia” and has edited more than 50 films, said she shared her honorary Oscar “with all the unsung heroes” of filmmaking.
Wiseman, 86, whose documentaries include 1970’s “Hospital,” 1987’s “Blind” and last year’s “In Jackson Heights,” said: “I think it’s as important to document kindness, ability and generosity of spirit as it is to show cruelty, banality and indifference,” he said.
Chan accepted an honorary Oscar on Saturday as Hollywood A-listers sounded a cautionary note over President-elect Donald Trump’s victory in the polls.
Left-leaning Tinseltown overwhelmingly backed Democrat Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House, and stars at the Academy’s glitzy Governors Awards told AFP of their dismay at her defeat.
Asked to compare the night’s honoree with Trump, double Oscar-winner Hanks told AFP: “Jackie Chan has the wisdom of the East and the discipline of a master martial artist.”
After a lengthy pause, he added: “Our president-elect has a big responsibility and much to prove.”
For “Big Bang Theory” star Simon Helberg, who plays engineer Howard Wollowitz on the hit comedy series, Trump’s victory in Tuesday’s election was “a terrible moment for the world”.
The 35-year-old, who starred alongside Hugh Grant and Meryl Streep in “Florence Foster Jenkins”, said change was needed but hoped a Trump presidency wouldn’t “damage our future”.
“The truth is not enough people showed up and that’s what we have to listen to. I hope that we can squash the violence and the bigotry, and whatever else this has unleashed before it gets out of hand,” he told AFP.
Andre Royo, best known for starring as a heroin addict in HBO crime drama series “The Wire”, said he was feeling “stressed out” by the prospect of a Trump White House.
“But I think we took for granted our perception of our country,” Royo told AFP.
“I think we were a little delusional and a little naive… and now we got reminded that we’ve got work to do and growing to do, as a culture.”
Chan, known for his comic timing and acrobatic fighting style, has appeared in around 200 movies since becoming a child actor in his native Hong Kong in the 1960s.
His Hollywood breakthrough came with “Rumble in the Bronx” in 1996, and he has gone on to be become a global star through the “Rush Hour” movies, “Shanghai Noon”, “The Karate Kid” and the “Kung Fu Panda” series of animated films.
The 62-year-old — who shared a table with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone — left politics out of an unscripted acceptance speech.
But he roused Hollywood’s Ray Dolby Ballroom with an anecdote about realizing how badly he wanted an Academy Award after going to Stallone’s house 23 years earlier and touching, kissing and smelling the American actor’s Oscar statuette.
Film editor Anne Coates, casting director Lynn Stalmaster and documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman were also awarded statuettes at the Academy’s 8th Annual Governors Awards.
The Governors Awards were created as a separate event in 2009 to allow more space for the honorees to accept their statuettes and to unclutter the main show’s packed schedule.
Previous winners of honorary Oscars include Lauren Bacall, Francis Ford Coppola, Oprah Winfrey, Angelina Jolie and Spike Lee.
Creativity and longevity were the key words Saturday night at the eighth annual Governors Awards, as Oscars were handed to four individuals who collectively represented about 225 years of film experience.
Honorees were Chan, Coates, casting director Lynn Stalmaster and documentarian Frederick Wiseman at Hollywood & Highland.
However, politics and the 2016 awards took a back seat once the 75-minute ceremony started, with knockout clip montages and verbal tributes to the four honorees.
The event was produced by David Rubin. Repping the Academy were numerous governors, plus AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson.
The audience was jam-packed with Hollywood notables who represented a cross-section of Hollywood, from vets like Warren Beatty and Bruce Dern to 21st century game-changers including Ava DuVernay and Megan Ellison.
The roster included directors of current awards contenders, including Tom Ford, Pedro Almodovar, Juan Antonio Bayona, Warren Beatty, Damien Chazelle, Kief Davidson, Barry Jenkins, Garth Jennings, Travis Knight, Pablo Larrain, Kenneth Lonergan, David Mackenzie, Matt Ross and Morten Tyldum.
Executives included Michael Barker, Bob Berney, Howard Cohen, Megan Colligan, Jim Gianopulos, Steve Gilula, Josh Goldstine, Ted Hope, Jeremy Kleiner, Donna Langley, John Lasseter, Chris Meledandri, Ron Meyers, Terry Press, Jason Ropell, Jeff Shell, Stacey Snider and Nancy Utley.
The evening’s approach was in contrast to the past two years, when the appreciation and affection were mixed with electrifying speeches by Harry Belafonte and Spike Lee about the film industry’s lack of diversity/inclusion.
The closest thing to those comments were in the very subtle introductory remarks by Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs. She drew applause with her comment that industry decision-makers need to “hire, recruit and mentor” a new generation who will represent the world population because “inclusion isn’t just a favor for anyone; it’s a strategic imperative.”
She also said the the great film work represented by the quartet “remind us how in uncertain times, movies connect us, change us, unify us.”
In 2009, the Academy broke out the Governors Awards into a separate, untelevised ceremony; the Oscarcast time constraints limited the number of honorees and the time devoted to each. So the separate ceremony was an experiment, but an immediate success.