Samuel L. Jackson Receives An Honorary Oscar And Also A Salmon Oscar

In the latest questionable decision in an awards season full of questionable decisions, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences witnessed what will likely be some of the most compelling acceptance speeches of Oscar weekend during an un-aired ceremony on Friday. The Governors Awards, an annual event that has taken place since 2009, gave out lifetime achievement awards to industry greats Elaine May, Danny Glover, Liv Ullmann, and Samuel L. Jackson. They also gave out, erm, salmon in the shape of an Oscar. 

Writer Kyle Buchanan captured the latter here:

Baffling meal choices and Fyre Fest plating aside, The Governors Awards appear to have been a smashing success. According to the Associated Press, each recipient was celebrated by a tribute from an industry peer. John Lithgow spoke about Ullmann, the Norwegian actress who also directed films like "Faithless." Alfre Woodard celebrated Glover, whom she acted opposite in the films "Bopha!" and "Grand Canyon." And comedian Bill Murray presented the award to actress and director May, who quipped, "They told me Zelenskyy would introduce me tonight, but thank God they got Bill instead."

All the best parts, un-televised

One of the biggest moments of the night came when Jackson accepted his award from Denzel Washington, who highlighted the actor's prolific career (he's appeared in 152 films to date!) along with his philanthropy. After detailing the extensive list of organizations Jackson supports, Washington reportedly joked, "I don't know what y'all been doing, but that's what he's been doing." The pair were clearly thrilled to be on stage celebrating Jackson's achievements, hugging, laughing, and sharing a great handshake, also captured via Buchanan's Twitter.

It seems every week this year has brought another bizarre announcement from the Oscars. At this point, it sounds like the show will have three seemingly randomized hosts, an odd slate of presenters including DJ Khaled, and a fan-voted category that looks like it may crown the Camila Cabello-led "Cinderella" movie as last year's best. All of this would be fine if the organization hadn't also announced plans to essentially gut the telecast, cutting several vital categories in a bid to increase ratings. There was another controversy when "West Side Story" actress Rachel Zegler revealed that she hadn't been invited to the Oscars, despite the movie being up for seven Oscars including best picture. While it later emerged that the Academy wasn't to blame for that decision, it nonetheless contributed to the darkening clouds of public opinion surrounding this year's ceremony.

The Academy's various attempts at trying to "fix" the Oscars in the wake of declining ratings make the fact that we're watching May and Jackson receive lifetime achievement awards through non-professional videos taken from the back of a crowded room seem even more absurd. The Governors Awards aren't typically televised, but they seem like an invaluable delight for film lovers. Of course, every move the Oscars makes seems to indicate the telecast is no longer designed for film lovers, but for some sort of audience that loves snowboarder Shaun White and hates celebrating the craft that goes into making movies. Hell, even the statuette-shaped smoked salmon might make the Oscars better at this point.