Woody Harrelson hugs Michael J Fox while giving him honorary Oscar at 2022 Governors Awards
'Michael J Fox has brought understanding, empathy and determination to his cause, inspiring millions to stand a little longer,' Harrelson said
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Woody Harrelson and Michael J Fox shared a warm hug as the former presented an honorary Academy Award to Fox for his advocacy work on Parkinson’s disease. Through his Michael J Fox Foundation, the actor has raised over $1.5B for research into the disease.
The 61-year-old was honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award on Saturday, November 19, at the 13th annual Governors Awards. The ceremony was held at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles. Fox left acting in 2020 because of his deteriorating health due to Parkinson’s disease. He was reportedly diagnosed with it when he was 29.
During his acceptance speech, Fox said, “Once I got into the process of learning about the disease, every interaction, every new piece of information I gathered, every researcher or NIH official I talked to, it was all confirmed, the science was ahead of the money. The answers can be unlocked with the right investments. I was told I only had 10 years left to work. That was stupid. That’s what happened. The hardest part of my diagnosis was struggling with the certainty of the diagnosis and the uncertainty of the situation!”
Later, the ‘Family Ties’ star added, “It’s nice to see confirmation that you’re human and you’re doing your best, and for those reasons, I accept it. But it’s really exciting. It’s really one of those things where if you believe in something, you work towards something, and then the strength of the company watches you and your efforts for two minutes, it’s so powerful and so productive. It’s a force multiplier. It’s really exciting.”
Harrelson also showed his respect to Fox before he came on the stage to accept the award. “Michael J Fox has brought understanding, empathy and determination to his cause, inspiring millions to stand a little longer and speak a little stronger. And hold on a little tighter to something humanity needs much more of, hope,” the ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ actor said.
Remembering the old times, Harrelson shared, “I was at a party in Hollywood — I don’t remember the details — but it was the mid-1980s, of course I was in the kitchen where all good parties end. I stepped outside to get some air and suddenly I came back and it seemed like everyone in there evaporated. But everyone was sitting in the living room watching a television program."
“So I stopped and looked, there was a high school student and he was electric," he continued. "What he could do with a look or a pause, I was watching a phenomenon in the making. I think I’m pretty funny, and really funny when I’m high. But this guy was a masterclass in comedy. That was my first encounter with Michael J Fox.”
Harrelson added, “A year or two later he did Back To The Future, he was the biggest star in the world, and we had a Cheers Christmas party and he came over and he was incredibly kind – he loved the show and my character – he has this amazing ability to turn the tables and make others feel good. I’ve seen him do this so many times in so many years, Mike is a really great guy, what can I say – he’s Canadian. We had a nice chat and he got up on stage and did his solo from BTTF, everyone on the cast felt very happy to witness this. Apart from a lady who had no Christmas spirit and promptly kicked him out, and that woman became my wife – sorry cheap joke!”