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Angela Bassett, Mel Brooks accept honorary Oscars at Hollywood gala

ACTOR Angela Bassett was celebrated for a lifetime of memorable roles from Tina Turner to the Queen of Wakanda as Hollywood’s film academy handed out honorary Oscars.

Comedian Mel Brooks also received a golden statuette at the annual Governors Awards in front of a crowd of top stars including Leonardo DiCaprio, Bradley Cooper and Natalie Portman.

On stage accepting her trophy, Bassett paid tribute to the 10 Black women who have won Academy Awards – naming each one – and said she hoped the film industry would provide more opportunities for people of colour.

“My prayer is that we leave this industry more enriched, forward-thinking and inclusive than we found it,” Bassett, 65, said. “At the end of the day, we all just want to have the opportunity to do great, meaningful work.”

Bassett was nominated for two competitive Oscars. The first was for her breakout role as Turner in 1993’s “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” and the second for playing Queen Ramonda in 2022’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

Bassett and other honorees were selected by the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the group that will hand out this year’s Oscars in March.

Writer, director and actor Brooks, now 97, began his career writing comedy routines for Sid Caesar’s TV shows in the 1950s before making films such as “Blazing Saddles” and “Young Frankenstein.”

He won an Oscar for writing the screenplay for the 1967 film “The Producers,” which later became a hit Broadway play.

After a musical introduction by “The Producers” stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, Brooks joked that he appreciated his new Oscar statuette because he had sold his previous trophy.

“I won’t sell this one, I swear to God,” he said.

The academy also honored film editor Carol Littleton and Sundance Film Festival executive Michelle Satter.

By LISA RICHWINE

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