Jackie Chan gets honorary Oscar

LOS ANGELES • Action movie star Jackie Chan accepted an honorary Oscar last Saturday as Hollywood A-listers sounded a cautionary note over United States President-elect Donald Trump's victory in the polls.

Left-leaning Tinseltown overwhelmingly backed Democrat Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House and stars at the Academy's glitzy Governors Awards told Agence France-Presse of their dismay at her defeat.

Asked to compare the night's honoree with Mr Trump, double Oscar- winner Tom Hanks said: "Jackie Chan has the wisdom of the East and the discipline of a master martial artist."

After a lengthy pause, he added: "Our President-elect has a big responsibility and much to prove."

For Big Bang Theory star Simon Helberg, who plays engineer Howard Wollowitz on the hit comedy series, Mr Trump's victory in Tuesday's election was "a terrible moment for the world".

The 35-year-old, who starred alongside Hugh Grant and Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins (2016), said change was needed, but hoped a Trump presidency would not "damage our future".

A jubilant Jackie Chan with his Honorary Oscar Award at the Academy's eighth Annual Governors Awards.
A jubilant Jackie Chan with his Honorary Oscar Award at the Academy's eighth Annual Governors Awards. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

"The truth is, not enough people showed up and that's what we have to listen to. I hope that we can quash the violence and the bigotry, and whatever else this has unleashed before it gets out of hand," he said.

Andre Royo, best known for starring as a heroin addict in HBO crime drama series The Wire, said he was feeling "stressed out" by the prospect of a Trump White House. "But I think we took for granted our perception of our country," he said. "I think we were a little delusional and a little naive... and now, we got reminded that we've got work to do and growing to do, as a culture."

Chan, known for his comic timing and acrobatic fighting style, has appeared in about 200 movies since becoming a child actor in his native Hong Kong in the 1960s.

His Hollywood breakthrough came with Rumble In The Bronx in 1996 and he has gone on to become a global star through the Rush Hour movies, Shanghai Noon (2000), The Karate Kid (1984) and the Kung Fu Panda series of animated films.

The 62-year-old - who shared a table with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone - left politics out of an unscripted acceptance speech.

But he roused Hollywood's Ray Dolby Ballroom with an anecdote about realising how badly he wanted an Academy Award after going to Stallone's house 23 years earlier and touching, kissing and smelling the American actor's Oscar statuette.

"After 56 years in the film industry, making more than 200 films - I broke so many bones - finally this is mine," Chan, who performed many of his daring stunts, said of his Oscar.

Film editor Anne Coates, casting director Lynn Stalmaster and documentary film-maker Frederick Wiseman were also awarded statuettes at the Academy's eighth Annual Governors Awards.

Coates, who is 90 and lives in England, was honoured for a 60-year career that has seen her collaborating with some of the industry's most acclaimed directors, including with David Lean on Lawrence Of Arabia (1962).

Stalmaster, 88, a one-time stage and screen actor from Omaha, Nebraska, began working in casting in the mid-1950s and has signed up talent for more than 200 films, including The Graduate (1967), Deliverance (1972) and Tootsie (1982).

Wiseman, 86, has made a film almost every year since 1967, starting with Titicut Follies, which went behind the scenes at Bridgewater State Hospital for the criminally insane.

The Governors Awards were created as a separate event in 2009 to allow more space for the honorees to accept their statuettes and to unclutter the main show's packed schedule.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2016, with the headline 'Jackie Chan gets honorary Oscar'. Subscribe