Angela Bassett will receive her first Oscar, and Mel Brooks will receive his second. Monday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that “Black Panther” heroine Bassett, 64, and Brooks, 96, the comedy legend behind “Blazing Saddles” and “Young Frankenstein,” will receive honorary Oscars.
Additionally, film editor Carol Littleton (“E.T. : The Extra-Terrestrial”) will receive an honorary Academy Award. Michelle Satter of the Sundance Institute will receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. On November 18, the four Oscar statuettes will be presented at the Governors Awards ceremony.
“The Academy’s Board of Governors is thrilled to honor four trailblazers who have transformed the film industry and inspired generations of filmmakers and movie fans,” Academy President Janet Yang said in a statement. In her distinguished career, Bassett has been nominated for two Oscars: supporting actress for last year’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and best actress for her portrayal of Tina Turner in the 1993 biopic “What’s Love Got To Do With It.”
Bassett told USA TODAY following her most recent Oscar nomination that she would advise her younger self to be patient in her pursuit of the award.
She said, “I’d probably say, ‘Hang in there, girl!'” “‘Take care of yourself, be appreciative, and just don’t give up. Perhaps it will take a long time, but keep things in perspective. It is only through hard labor that you have a chance of getting there.'”
Brooks, a producer, writer, and actor who began his career writing comedy routines for Sid Caesar’s television program, won an Academy Award for best screenplay for his first film, “The Producers” (1967). He is a rare EGOT recipient, having won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. Brooks also received two additional Oscar nominations for composing the lyrics to John Morris’s “Blazing Saddles” song and for co-writing the screenplay for
“Young Frankenstein,” which he co-wrote with Wilder. Yang stated, “Mel Brooks’ humor warms our hearts, and his legacy has had a lasting impact on every aspect of entertainment.” Littleton’s name may not be as instantly recognizable as those of the other honorees, but he has worked behind the scenes with top filmmakers for nearly half a century.
Films such as “Body Heat,” “The Big Chill,” “Swimming to Cambodia,” and “The Manchurian Candidate” were edited by the 81-year-old Oklahoma native who collaborated frequently with both Lawrence Kasdan and Jonathan Demme. She was nominated for her first and only Oscar for “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” the only film she has edited for Steven Spielberg. She is also married to former Academy president and cinematographer John Bailey.