James Earl Jones received an award in honour of his contribution to cinema and theatre last night (12 Nov 2011). Emotions were running high at the 3rd annual Governors Awards as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences celebrated the career of James Earl Jones.

Testimonials towards the actor were given by Alec Baldwin who reminded the crowd of the range of roles Jones has played, gave his best Jones impersonation, and also confessing: "I wanted James Earl Jones's career - that's what every actor wants". Actress Glenn Close also admitted that watching Jones perform on stage in 'Fences' reduced her to "a sobbing, stammering mess". She summarised: "I just want to say thank you for what he has given me and all those who have been touched by his supreme artistry." Jones, who is currently appearing in 'Driving Miss Daisy' on the London stage opposite Venessa Redgrave, accepted the honour remotely. He said: ""I am deeply honoured, mighty grateful and just plain gobsmacked." Other recipients of awards included make-up artist DICK SMITH and a tribute to Oprah Winfrey, who received the 'Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award'.

Making his big-screen debut in Stanley Kubrick's 1964 classic, 'Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb', he was then nominated for the best actor Oscar for 1970's 'The Great White Hope', the same role that won him a Tony. He has since appeared in scores of movies, plays and TV shows, and given voice to two of film's most memorable fathers: Mufasa in 'The Lion King' and Darth Vader in the 'Star Wars' trilogy.