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Cicely Tyson Will Make History at the Oscars TonightCicely Tyson Will Make History at the Oscars Tonight The legendary actress is the first woman of color to receive the The Academy's Honorary Oscar.
BY EMMA DIBDIN / FEB 24 2019, 9:57 PM EST
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C icely Tyson is the recipient of tonight's Honorary Academy Award, and our only question is how it's
taken her this long to get an Oscar. The 94-year-old (yes, you read that correctly) actress is a
veteran of both film and television, and has won a boatload of awards throughout her six-
decade-long career, including three Emmys, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Tony Award
and, now, an Honorary Academy Award.
It was announced in September that Tyson would be one of the recipients of this year's Honorary
Awards, alongside publicist Martin Levy and composer Lalo Schifrin. The awards were presented at
the Governors Awards on November 18, but highlights from that event will be incorporated into
tonight's Academy Awards per tradition. The win is a historic one, making Tyson the first woman of
color ever to win an honorary Academy Award. She was nominated for an Oscar in 1973 for the
Depression-era drama Sounder, but has never won.
Tyson is probably best known to contemporary audiences for playing Ophelia Harkness, the mother
of Viola Davis's Annalise Keating, on How to Get Away with Murder. She has appeared in films including The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, Fried Green Tomatoes, and The Help. One of her most powerful and memorable roles was in the 1974 television movie The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, an adaptation of a historical novel in which she played a woman born into slavery who lived to participate in the civil rights movement.
"It has always been my mission to get people to understand that we are also human, that we are
human beings with all the nuts and bolts of being human," Tyson told The Hollywood Reporter in 2014, when she was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a
Movie for her role in The Trip to Bountiful. "That has always been my premise. I deal with every character on a humanistic face, because that’s what we are—we all feel the same things and think the
same things, whether we want to admit that or not. Why we should be treated differently simply
because of the color of our skin is far beyond me."
Tyson's appearance on the red carpet tonight sparked a rapturous response from industry insiders
and fans alike.
Ava DuVernay @ava
94 years glorious. Her Majesty has arrived. #OSCARS
MEFeater Magazine @mefeater THE LEGENDARY Cicely Tyson at the 2019 #Oscars
7:49 PM · Feb 24, 2019
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Westchester Esthetician @MakeupForWOC
The queen Cicely Tyson at the 2019 #Oscars
9:01 PM · Feb 24, 2019
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Hugh McIntyre @PopBangHugh
Cicely Tyson is 94 NINETY FOUR #Oscars
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OSCARS 2020OSCARS 2020
EMMA DIBDIN Contributor
Emma Dibdin writes about television, movies, and podcasts, with coverage including opinion essays, news posts, episodic reviews and in-depth interviews with creatives.
W A T C H N E X TW A T C H N E X T
8:49 PM · Feb 24, 2019
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