The 2013 Governor’s Awards were last night, with Angelina Jolie receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her work as a UN Goodwill Ambassador, the multi-Oscar and Emmy nominated legend Angela Lansbury receiving an Honorary Oscar for her body of work and a former Oscar host, multi-nominated Emmy and Golden Globe comedian Steve Martin. It’s unfortunate that the academy decided to shuttle these awards from the televised program, although during Oscar party viewings it’s usually the time to hit the bathroom or run outside for a smoke. Hopefully people take the time to listen to their speeches though, they’re marvelous. From Jolie’s incredibly humble and thankful words about her deceased mother (and not a word about her estranged father, Jon Voight, awkwardly in the audience) to Lansbury’s wonderful stories of the Golden Age of Hollywood when there are so few remaining working actors of that time now to Steve Martin’s funny and touching words it was a joyous evening.
But, the Governor’s Awards are not just about the people who already have Oscars, it’s also the real beginning of the race to get one. Oscar contenders came out in droves to shake hands, take photos and start their campaigns. The frontrunners were all there: Steve McQueen, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o from 12 Years a Slave, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto from Dallas Buyers Club, June Squibb from Nebraska, Amy Adams from American Hustle and Her and Michael B. Jordan from Fruitvale Station, just to name a few. But there were also outliers, fringe contenders staking their claim for this season. Harrison Ford, who co-starred in the Jackie Robinson biopic 42 this last spring, was there drumming up interest in what some think is a longshot for a Supporting Actor nomination and others a shoe-in. Ford is respected, Oscar-nominated veteran and the star of two of the highest grossing trilogies in movie history and the perfect recipient for the Supporting Actor award (think Alan Arkin, James Coburn or Jack Palance).
Catch the speeches from Angelina Jolie, Angela Lansbury and Steve Martin below: