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Governors Awards 2011: Academy Honors Oprah, James Earl Jones, Dick Smith

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 3rd annual event drew Oscar winners and hopefuls like Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Glenn Close and Diablo Cody. The emotional proceedings took place Nov. 13 in Los Angeles and were not televised.

Oprah and Rita Wilson, Governors Awards 2011

PHOTO GALLERY

Oprah Winfrey was the recipient of its Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

On how she learned that she had been chosen to receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award…

“I was hiking in Maui, and the security guy runs up the hill, and he says, ‘Urgent! You must call the Academy now!’ I go, ‘What?!’ ‘You must call the Academy!’ Honest to goodness, I run a girl’s academy in South Africa, so I thought something had happened there, and then I get there and it’s the Board of Governors… I had heard there was some rumor that I was asked to host the Oscars, so I thought, ‘Are they calling me to ask me to host the Oscars?’ Or, ‘Are they mad at me because the rumor’s out?’ ’Cause I didn’t start the rumor — I don’t know where it came from! So why would I have the Board of Governors on the phone to talk to me? I couldn’t even imagine… when Tom started speaking and telling me all the people in the room, I’m, like, holding my breath. ‘Wh- Wh- What?!’ So that was my reaction. My reaction was, ‘What?!’ [laughs]

Congrats, Lady O!

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