James Earl Jones 'gobsmaked' by Oscar honour

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Complete coverage of The Voice television show. Four famous musicians search for the best voices in America and will mentor these singers to become artists. America will decide which singer will be worthy of the grand prize.
November 14th, 2011

James Earl Jones was "gobsmacked" to receive an honorary Oscar on Saturday (12.11.11).

The 80-year-old actor - who is best known as the voice of 'Star Wars' villain Darth Vader - revealed his delight at the accolade, which he chose to receive in London rather than Los Angeles so as not to interrupt his run in the West End production of 'Driving Miss Daisy'.

Accepting his award from Sir Ben Kingsley on stage at London's Wyndham theatre after a matinee performance of the play, he said: "I am deeply honoured, mighty grateful and just plain gobsmacked.

"If an actor's nightmare is being on stage naked and not knowing your lines, what the heck do you call this? I have my clothes on, I know my words, and then out from the wings steps Sir Ben Kingsley and he hands me an Oscar! Frankly, what the heck else to call it but an actor's wet dream."

The honour formed part of the 3rd annual Governors Awards, which also saw chat show queen Oprah Winfrey and make-up artist Dick Smith receive awards at a ceremony in Los Angeles.

Oprah - who starred in 'The Color Purple and 'Beloved' - was introduced by Quincy Jones, John Travolta, Maria Shriver, producer Larry Gordon and a student she'd never met but whose education she funded.

John called the media mogul "the most wonderful person in the world, the most magical person in the world and the most powerful person in the world," claiming "the academy got it right" when it chose to present her with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

He added: "I would give you a second Oscar and that for your film acting because you are a damn good actress."

Accepting the award, Oprah said: "It's impossible for you to even know what this journey has meant."

Meanwhile, last night (13.11.11), James' 'Driving Miss Daisy' co-star Vanessa Redgrave was toasted with the Academy's first ever European tribute to an actor, at the Curzon Soho in London.

She said: "I am simply amazed by this wonderful tribute.

"I am immensely grateful to the Academy and to all my colleagues, for thinking of me in this generous way."

The ceremony was attended by her co-star James, daughter Joely Richardson, Meryl Streep, Ralph Fiennes and Dame Eileen Atkins.