Angelina Jolie, Steve Martin and Angela Lansbury were honoured on Saturday, 16 November, night at the Academy’s Governors Awards, in a night where emotions ran high and the awards circuit got off to a start. Jolie was perhaps the biggest celebrity name on the awards sheet, but it was Martin and Lansbury who stole the show with their heartfelt gratitude towards being honoured by the Academy for a career in front of the camera.

Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie was honoured for her humanitarian work

Jolie received the first standing ovation of the night though, picking up the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her continued, dedicated service to aid work across the globe. Attending the event with her hubby Brad Pitt and their son Maddox, Jolie accepted the award from George Lucas after being toasted in a video presentation featuring clips from her in the movies and in refuge camps and care-giving scenarios found across the globe. Receiving thank you's from four stars of her upcoming Bosnian war film In the Land of Blood and Honey, Gena Rowlands then toasted the star before she took to the stage, asking, “How does she have the time to do all this? She acts and directs, she has a large family… and she has to keep that smile on Brad’s face.”

As she took to the stage, the actress said that she had promised her son that she wouldn't cry and dished out thank you's and appreciations for a long list of people, emotionally adding a long appraisal of her late mother, who, she said, told her, “nothing would mean anything if I didn’t live a life of use to others.”

When it was time for Steve Martin to take to the stage for his award, the evening had moved far away from being an emotionally-fuelled night to a comedy roast on Martin's behalf. Martin Short took to the stage to begin the roasting of Martin, taking on the evening as a whole saying, “Tonight is one of those magical nights when the one-percenters get together to honor one of our own,” throwing in some political swipes and swipes at Martin, finishing his introduction with, “I think it’s safe to say that Steve Martin is a genius. Not necessarily true, but safe.”

Steve Martin
Steve Martin was honoured for his enduring work within the comedy genre

Tom Hanks next took to the stage to honour Martin, conceding that Martin “has altered the state of comedy for the last four decades,” before the comic took to the stage himself. Although trying to keep his speech dry and witty for the majority, joking, "it has been a longtime dream of mine that one day I would receive an honorary Oscar. Tonight, I feel I am one step closer to that dream,” he soon got choked up as he began thanking his wife and the movie industry.

“I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it through this speech. I read it to my dog this morning and wept,” he admitted during his speech, breaking down again at the end as he thanked the movie industry for giving him the life he's had. He finished, leaving the stage to a larger standing ovation than he was given when he took to the podium, “So thank you movies, and thank you Academy for this award, a reminder of the true benefits that I have received.”

As warming as the standing ovation Martin received was, it wasn't quite as warm as the overwhelming response Angela Lansbury was given as she left the stage after accepting her award. Walking up to the stage following a presentation from Emma Thompson, Geoffrey Rush and Robert Osborne, the actress best known for her long-running role in Murder She Wrote, looked lovingly at her statuette before admitting, “I feel really undeserving of this gorgeous chap.”

Few agreed with her though, as she left the stage to a riotous reception, earning cheers and applause long after she had left the podium. The Academy won't be resting easy for another year, as we only have until 2 March to wait for the next big Academy gala: the Oscars. (via The Warp)

Angela Lansbury
Lansbury is worthy recipient of the honour