Samuel L. Jackson will get an Oscar this year. Here’s who the academy is honoring

Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson will receive an honorary Oscar at the 12th annual Governors Awards.
(Elijah Nouvelage/Invision/AP)

The motion picture academy will present honorary Oscars to Samuel L. Jackson, Elaine May and Liv Ullmann, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Danny Glover at its 12th Governors Awards on Jan. 15, 2022.

The ceremony will mark a resumption of the Governors Awards, which were canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic.

“We are thrilled to present this year’s Governors Awards to four honorees who have had a profound impact on both film and society,” Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President David Rubin said in a statement. “Sam Jackson is a cultural icon whose dynamic work has resonated across genres and generations and audiences worldwide, while Elaine May’s bold, uncompromising approach to filmmaking, as a writer, director and actress, reverberates as loudly as ever with movie lovers.

“Liv Ullmann’s bravery and emotional transparency has gifted audiences with deeply affecting screen portrayals, and Danny Glover’s decades-long advocacy for justice and human rights reflects his dedication to recognizing our shared humanity on and off the screen.”


Glover is best known for his pairing with Mel Gibson in the “Lethal Weapon” movie series and for work in films like “The Color Purple,” “Grand Canyon” and “The Royal Tenenbaums.” He has never been nominated for an Oscar.

Jackson’s career has encompassed his recurring role as Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and collaborations with directors Quentin Tarantino (“Pulp Fiction,” “Jackie Brown,” “Django Unchained”) and Spike Lee (“Do the Right Thing,” “School Daze”). He earned an Oscar nomination for his supporting turn as the Bible-paraphrasing hitman in “Pulp Fiction.”

May teamed with Mike Nichols as a groundbreaking comedy act in the 1950s and ‘60s and went on to write and direct many notable films. She received Oscar nominations for writing adapted screenplays for “Heaven Can Wait” and “Primary Colors,” which Nichols directed.

Norwegian-born Ullman earned Oscar nominations for her lead turns in the Swedish dramas “The Emigrants” (1971) and “Face to Face” (1976), making her the first actor to pick up multiple nominations for international films.

The Governors Awards, an untelevised event that the academy established in 2009 as an evening to bestow its honorary Oscars, is typically held in November and also serves as something of an unofficial first campaign stop for contenders trying to capture Oscar voters’ attention. The most recent ceremony, held in 2019, honored David Lynch, Wes Studi and Lina Wertmüller, and bestowed the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Geena Davis.

The academy recently moved the 94th Oscars back a month to March 27.