At the 13th Governors Awards, Michael J. Fox received an honorary Oscar for his decades of fighting for a world without Parkinson’s disease.
The “Back to the Future” star was honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award: Michael J. Fox, which is given each year to an “individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry,” per the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Michael launched the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000, 19 years after his own diagnosis. For more than two decades, the organization has been a part of the fight for a cure to the degenerative disorder and raised more than $1 billion.
Michael received a standing ovation when he took the stage to accept the honorary Oscar.
In his acceptance speech, he described his fight for a cure with the Bruce Springsteen song “No Surrender.”
“It’s sort of a personal anthem,'” he said.
On the red carpet ahead of the award ceremony, Michael told Access Hollywood how it felt to receive an award for his humanitarian efforts.
“It’s nice to have it confirmed that you’re human and you’re doing the best you can, and on those grounds, I’ll accept it,” he quipped. “But it’s really exciting. It truly is one of those things where if you believe in something, you work towards something, and then have the power of the business turn its eye on you and your efforts for two minutes, it’s so powerful and it’s so productive. It’s a force multiplier. It’s really exciting.”
Michael had his wife Tracy Pollan by his side, who told Access she was “so proud” of her husband.
“I’ve always been so proud of the work he’s done, and to be honored in this way is very special,” she shared.
“To have everybody sort of say, ‘We see what you’ve done, and we appreciate what you’ve done, it’s really heartwarming,” Tracy added.
In addition to Michael, directors Peter Weir and Euzhan Palcy and songwriter Diane Warren also received honorary Oscars at the award ceremony.
The special night drew dozens of A-list guests, including Jennifer Lawrence, Angela Bassett, Olivia Wilde, Margot Robbie, Florence Pugh and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were among the big stars attended the event, and while chatting with Access on the carpet, they commended Michael J. Fox’s philanthropic work.
“What he’s done for people that have Parkinson’s and the money that he has raised is pretty incredible, and so, highly deserving,” Rita said.
“He’s brought a joy to his art, despite the fact that some people would not be doing it at all,” Tom shared. ‘He’s able to turn that into a spark of something that is without a doubt a happy thing … And even when he’s doing his very, very serious work, which he’s done more and more, particularly at a time when perhaps people would have retired because of a malady like he suffered. Instead, he’s turned it into part of the fabric of a performance, and I think everybody relates to that.”