Honorary Oscar for Driving Miss Daisy's James Earl Jones
The American Actor Honoured for His Lifetime of Work for the Screen
Those headed to the Wyndham’s Theatre in London’s West End currently have the honour of witnessing James Earl Jones take on the role of Hoke Colburn in Alfred Uhry’s “Driving Miss Daisy”. However, those that attended a performance this past weekend will have witnessed something even more remarkable as the renowned actor received an Honorary Academy Award for his contributions to film.
After Jones and co-star Vanessa Redgrave had finished portraying the roles of Miss Daisy and Colburn (made famous by Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman in the movie adaptation) for the evening and London theatre audiences were planning on leaving the venue Sir Ben Kingsley emerged from backstage to present him with the iconic miniature gold statue. It was presented to mark his “extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of Motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy”.
James Earl Jones is currently in his second role in London’s West End following his appearance as Big Daddy in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, which appeared at the Novello Theatre in 2009. However, the actor is best known for his film roles, which include performances in the likes of “Field of Dreams”, “Conan the Barbarian” and “The Great White Hope”, in addition to an early appearance in Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr Strangelove, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”. Meanwhile, audiences around the world will know his signature voice from the likes of King Mufasa in “The Lion King” and Darth Vader in the “Star Wars” series.
He first appeared in the production of “Driving Miss Daisy” when it was staged on the other side of the Atlantic, where it proved a big success. It opened at the Wyndham’s Theatre in late September and introduces audiences to Miss Daisy Werthan (Redgrave), an elderly Jewish woman, as she is chauffeured by the African-American Hoke Colburn (Jones). These interactions give audiences glimpses of Daisy’s worldview and her life.