Michael J. Fox elicits laughter and tears as he accepts high honor – National

Beloved Canadian actor Michael J. fox has been recognized with one of Hollywood’s highest honors for the significant advocacy and fundraising work he has done since his diagnosis Parkinson’s disease.

During the weekend, the Return to the future Y Family ties the star was awarded an honorary Oscar statuette — the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award — for his philanthropic efforts that have raised $1.5 billion for Parkinson’s research. The award is given to a “film industry individual whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry,” according to the Academy’s website.

Woody Harrelson, a longtime friend of Fox’s, presented the award. After Fox approached the podium, he waited for the standing room applause to die down.

Honoree Canadian-American actor Michael J. Fox (R) accepts the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from American actor Woody Harrelson during the 13th Annual The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Annual Governors Awards at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles on November 19, 2019. 2022.

Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images

“Stop. You’re making me cringe,” he teased.

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Fox’s emotional and sometimes hilarious acceptance speech began with him quoting lines from the Bruce Springsteen song. no surrender to summarize your experience with Parkinson’s disease.

“It’s kind of my personal anthem,” Fox said. “Neither retreat nor surrender.”

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He talked about his humble beginnings as a Canadian actor and his high school dropout.

“I dropped out of high school in the 11th grade, sold my guitar and moved to Los Angeles,” he told the A-list audience, which included Tom Hanks, Brendan Fraser, Florence Pugh, Cate Blanchett and Jennifer Lawrence.

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“I told my history teacher my plan and he said, ‘Fox, you’re not going to be cute forever.’ I had no idea how to respond to that, so I said, ‘Maybe long enough, sir. Maybe long enough. Turns out we were both right.

Michael J. Fox accepts the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award during the 13th Annual Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Governors Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on November 19, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

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Fox was just 29 when he was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disorder in 1991 that has increasingly diminished his mobility and speech over the years.

“They told me I only had 10 years left to work,” Fox said, speaking of how he came to be diagnosed during the height of his acting career. “That was bullshit.

“The hardest part of my diagnosis was dealing with the certainty of the diagnosis and the uncertainty of the situation,” he continued. “I just knew it would get worse. The diagnosis was definitive. Progress was indefinite and uncertain.”

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Fox, 61, told the crowd that he “went into seven years of denial” as he tried to make sense of his illness.

“The kid who left Canada, convinced that he would make anything happen just by working hard and believing, now had a tough job ahead of him,” Fox said. “I told very few people. And they kept my secret.

During those seven years he kept working. he was filming revolving city at the time, but he knew he had to share his diagnosis with the public at some point.

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So he went to the media and broke the news.

“What happened next was remarkable,” he said, emotionally, “The outpouring of support from the general public and the beautiful reaction from all my peers in the entertainment business.

“It struck me that everything I had been given—success, my life with (my wife) Tracy, my family—had prepared me for this profound opportunity and responsibility. It was a gift,” Fox said, joking that he sometimes calls Parkinson’s “the gift that keeps on taking.”

Fox said, however, that the honorary Oscar is not about him, it is about the good work that has been done through the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which he created in 2000, two years after he went public with his diagnosis. According to the foundation’s website, the $1.5 billion raised has helped fund or sponsor many clinical trials, has helped fund 20 early-stage therapeutic programs, has brought together 48,000 participating “citizen scientists” who are sharing their lived experiences with Parkinson’s, and has helped build the library of sets of data and largest biological samples in the history of the disease.

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Fox, however, was humble about these incredible achievements.

“There was nothing heroic about what I did,” he said, then thanked those who supported his work and the many who work in the field of Parkinson’s disease research.

Honoree Canadian-American actor Michael J. Fox hugs his wife Tracy Pollan as he accepts the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award during the 13th Annual Governors Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles on 19 November 2022.

Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images

Finally, he called his wife of 34 years, Tracy Pollan, to the stage.

“I can’t believe it’s been here this long, it’s a miracle,” Fox joked, looking at the heavy statuette. “I can’t walk and carry this thing. But I ask Tracy to once again carry the weight.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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