ANGELINA Jolie, Steve Martin and Angela Lansbury were moved to tears at the film academy's fifth annual Governors Awards.
Each of the entertainers accepted honorary Oscar statuettes at a private dinner at the Hollywood & Highland Centre. Italian costume designer Piero Tosi was also honoured, but did not attend.
Jolie received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. Before guests including Brad Pitt and a man Jolie cited as "my hero," Second World War veteran and Olympian Louis Zamperini, the 38-year-old actress-director became emotional as she thanked her late mother, whom she said inspired her to think of others and give back.
"To stand here today means I did as she asked," Jolie said. "And if she were alive, she'd be very proud."
Tom Hanks and Martin Short helped present Martin with his honorary Oscar, which Short described as "the highest honour an actor can receive in mid-November".
Martin said: "I can't possibly express how I excited I am tonight, because the Botox is fresh."
But the 68-year-old got misty eyed as he reflected on the dear friends he's made during his five decades in film.
"I knew I wasn't going to make it through this speech," he said. "I read it to my dog this morning and wept."
Lansbury recited a list of her famous co-stars as she accepted her honorary Academy Award: Ingrid Bergman, Bette Davis, Frank Sinatra, Katharine Hepburn, Clark Gable, Lawrence Olivier and Orson Welles. With her two brothers, three children and three grandchildren in tow, the 88-year-old actress' voice cracked as she thanked movies and acting for rescuing her after the death of her husband.
She said sharing the Governors Awards ceremony with her family was better than "shivering with hope" during her three Oscar nominations, none of which resulted in statuettes.