Los Angeles • It’s an Oscar ceremony with dinner, drinks and no commercial breaks: For the fifth consecutive year, the motion picture academy will present its honorary Academy Awards at a private, untelevised, black-tie dinner.
Angelina Jolie, Steve Martin, Angela Lansbury and Italian costume designer Piero Tosi will receive Oscar statuettes at Saturday’s Governors Awards, where they’ll be feted by the likes of Anthony Hopkins and Tom Hanks in front of an audience of the entertainment elite.
"This event is a celebration of film, and it is really the beginning of Academy Awards season," said Paula Wagner, who is producing the ceremony.
Here’s what each of the honorees had to say about their upcoming Oscars:
The 38-year-old actress-director was "completely surprised" when she learned the leaders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences wanted to recognize her with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
Oprah Winfrey received the honor last year. Past recipients also include Elizabeth Taylor, Quincy Jones, Jerry Lewis and Paul Newman.
"Paul Newman has been a hero of mine since I was a little girl," Jolie wrote in an email to The Associated Press from Australia, where she is directing her latest film, "Unbroken." "Receiving the Hersholt award makes me feel like I am on the right path but also reminds me I have more to do."
Jolie is active with the Prevent Sexual Violence Initiative and serves as special envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Even with a flourishing career and family, Jolie said she always has time for humanitarian work.
"It is an honor and a pleasure to work on behalf of refugee children and victims of rape," she said. "No matter how much I have to do, how busy my life is, I am always aware that the challenges are absolutely nothing in comparison to what they face on a daily basis."
Even after five Tony awards, 18 Emmy nominations and three Oscar nominations, Lansbury was overwhelmed to learn she would be getting an Academy Award for lifetime achievement.
"It was quite an emotional moment," the 88-year-old actress said. "It’s a nod for everything I’ve done, in a sense. That’s what it means to me: It is really an acknowledgement of a good career, a good career as an actress in Hollywood."
Before audiences knew the British star on stage in "Mame" or on television in "Murder, She Wrote," Lansbury was a movie star who earned a supporting actress Oscar nomination for her debut role in 1944’s "Gaslight."
"My early days at MGM were thrilling and exciting beyond words because it all happened so fast," she said. "I started off with three big, huge movies."
"National Velvet" with Elizabeth Taylor followed "Gaslight," then "The Picture of Dorian Gray," for which Lansbury earned her second Oscar nomination. The third was for 1962’s "The Manchurian Candidate."
"That was a very exciting period," she recalled. "A tragic period, too, because it came right on the heels of JFK’s assassination."
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