The first Academy Awards of the season were handed out on Saturday during the third annual Governors Awards and actress/philanthropist/talk show host Oprah Winfrey accepted one of the night's three prestigious honors in recognition for her humanitarian service contributions before a crowd of Hollywood's elite.
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Winfrey, who was nominated for a supporting actress Oscar in 1985 for The Color Purple was given the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award by a young woman who completed school with a financial grant she earned from Winfrey's foundation.
"I never imagined receiving an Oscar, especially for doing what is part of my calling, part of my being," Oprah tearfully expressed of the Academy's "unimaginable" honor.
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Viola Davis was one of many celebrities to attend the event, telling Entertainment Tonight she was over the moon that Oprah was to be honored for her humanitarianism, citing the media mogul as one of the most gracious in Hollywood as well. In fact, Viola's Academy Award nominated role in Doubt (2008) was a part Oprah Winfrey herself had lobbied hard to play, but later humbly conceded the loss with Davis after seeing her in the film.
"I have so many Oprah moments," she began. "I was on a show after I was nominated for Doubt, and she gave me the ultimate compliment, which was 'I really fought for that role but once I saw you in it, I'm happy I didn't'."
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Actor James Earl Jones and make-up artist Dick Smith were also presented with honorary Oscars attracting film and TV greats such as Alec Baldwin, Seth Rogen, Sidney Poitier, Tyler Perry, John Travolta and Maria Shriver who were present to watch the three accept their prestigious awards.
Highlights from the ceremony will be presented during the Oscars telecast next February.