Cicely Tyson will finally secure an Oscar this year. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Tuesday (Sept. 4), that the 93-year old actress would be one of the three recipients of 2019’s honorary class. Not only will this be Tyson’s first Oscar win — she was nominated in 1973 for her role in Sounder — she will also make Oscar history as the first black woman to receive an Honorary Award (and fourth black person overall), PEOPLE reports.
In a statement, Academy President John Bailey said, “Choosing the honorees for its awards each year is the happiest of all the Board of Governors’ work. And this year, its selection of five iconic artists was made universal acclaim by the Academy’s 54 spirited governors.”
Tyson grew up in Harlem, the daughter of Caribbean immigrants, and kicked off her career in the entertainment industry with a brief stint as a fashion model after being discovered by a photographer from Ebony magazine. She eventually made the transition to acting and would soon touch off a wave of success in that field with projects like Roots, Fried Green Tomatoes, and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.
In most recent years, she made astounding performances alongside the likes of Tyler Perry and Viola Davis in films like Diary of a Mad Black Woman, The Help and How to Get Away with Murder, respectively. Her role in the Miss Jane Pittman reel was even a source of inspiration for Davis who took to Instagram to congratulate Tyson for her Oscar win. Under her belt, the visually stunning actress has a Tony, three Emmy Awards, eight Image Awards and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Tyson has yet to comment publicly on accepting this prestigious award.
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) September 6, 2018
— Debbie Allen (@msdebbieallen) September 6, 2018
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) September 6, 2018