Legendary African-American actress, Cicely Tyson will make history in the coming months as the first black woman to receive an Oscar in the honorary award category.
The 93-year-old actress was on Wednesday announced as one of the recipients of this year’s Honorary Oscars by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
A model before becoming an actress, Tyson is well-known for playing the characters of powerful African-American women, as portrayed in the widely-patronised 1970s television mini-series, Roots.
Her first big screen role was in 1968’s The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, starring actor Alan Arkin.
She would later star in films such as The River Niger, Fried Green Tomatoes, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, The Help, Alex Cross and Last Flag Flying.
For her over 60-year-career, the prolific actress has received a Kennedy Center Honor, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, a Tony, and multiple Emmy awards, where she became the first Black woman to win Best Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie in 1974.
Two years earlier, in 1972, she earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her role in Sounder.
Finally, she will be getting an honorary Oscar, a feat that has been described by many as well-deserving.
“Choosing the honorees for its awards each year is the happiest of all the Board of Governors’ work,” academy president John Bailey said in a statement.
“And this year, its selection of five iconic artists was made with universal acclaim by the Academy’s 54 spirited governors.”
The Oscar statuette is intended to “honour extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.”
Other recipients include publicist Marvin Levy, composer Lalo Schifrin, and producing husband-wife team Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy, who will be awarded the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award.
This year’s Governors Awards will be held in Los Angeles on November 18.