Denzel Washington Gave Samuel L. Jackson His Honorary Oscar, And People Are Wondering Why On Earth This Wasn’t Televised

The 94th Academy Awards will be televised on Sunday, and it’s already shaping up to be an even more chaotic year than most. There’s no host controversy nor sloppy pandemic-era safeguards, but there is mockery over its #OscarsFanFavorite semi-trophy as well as backlash over producers’ decision to scuttle eight whole categories from the live broadcast. Another thing they won’t show, because it’s already happened: Denzel Washington giving Samuel L. Jackson his honorary Oscar.

On Friday, the Academy held their annual Governors Awards, a non-televised ceremony where they hand out awards that used to be part of the main broadcast but aren’t any longer. Since 2009, the three lifetime achievement trophies — the Academy Honorary Award, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, and the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, which were long part of the main show — have been given their own shindig, far away from live television cameras.

That’s a shame, because clearly Denzel repeatedly bear-hugging an excitable Jackson — or Jackson receiving any award, to be honest — would be top shelf television.

After Washington and Jackson — who have only appeared in one movie together, Spike Lee’s Mo’ Better Blues — were done hugging it out , Jackson delivered an emotional speech. He spoke about how his film career began with him playing “gang member No. 2” and “Black guy,” but blossomed into over 150 screen credits — and, up to this point, only one Oscar nomination. (Jackson is so good that when Lee brought 1991’s Jungle Fever to Cannes, the festival dusted off the Best Supporting Actor trophy just for him.) “I guarantee you, this this is going to be cherished,” Jackson told the crowd.

When footage of Denzel and Jackson embracing over the latter’s monumental achievement, people simply could not believe producers didn’t want this on the main Oscars telecast.

Elsewhere during the Governors Awards, Bill Murray presented a lifetime achievement award to legendary actress, filmmaker, and comic performer Elaine May, while John Lithgow gave another to legendary actress, filmmaker, and frequent Ingmar Bergman collaborator Liv Ullmann. Sounds like good television!

In the meantime, feel free to revisit the 2019 Oscars, when Jackson (alongside Brie Larson) simply couldn’t hold it in when giving a Best Adapted Screenplay trophy to Spike Lee for BlackKklansman. Sometimes the Oscars are alright.

(Via Variety)