The 2018 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival: Still More Adventures in Paradise — Part II

Cicely Tyson. Legend.

It’s about that time . . . time for the next installment of my coverage of the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival 2018!

One of the many memorable events from my festival experience this year was the hand and footprint ceremony for actress Cicely Tyson, held in the forecourt of Grauman’s Chinese Theater (I know it’s called something else now, but it’ll always be Grauman’s to me). I’d first gotten a glimpse of Miss Tyson – who turned 93 last December – on the red carpet for the festival’s opening night film, and although she’d passed by in a manner of seconds, it was enough to see that she looked absolutely FABULOUS. Her mostly gray hair was in a short, close-cropped style and she was wearing a striking white fringed jacket, looking more like she was about to rock out with the Rolling Stones than settle herself down to watch a movie. Still, as sharp as she looked that night, I wasn’t prepared for her appearance the following day at the hand and footprint ceremony! For this event, she was clad in a bad-ass black and white pantsuit that was to DIE FOR, and her hair was styled in a glossy pageboy that matched the colors of her outfit. In my whole life, I should hope to look that good.

Tyson and Tyler Perry, as she prepares to step onto the cement.

The ceremony was opened by TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz, who told the gathered crowd that the actress was “one of the legitimate legends of the screen” who created “indelible and memorable characters consistent in their reflection of a positive image of African-American women.” During her more than 60-year career, Mankiewicz said, Tyson had performed in film as well as on television and stage. Her big-screen break was in the role of Rebecca Morgan in Sounder (1974), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. Throughout the decades that followed, her star continued to rise, and she’s showing no signs of stopping. In 2013, she returned to Broadway, winning a Tony Award for her performance in A Trip to Bountiful, and more recently, she was seen in the Netflix series House of Cards, and as the mother of Viola Davis in the ABC-TV series How to Get Away With Murder.

In addition to her performances, Tyson was one of the co-founders of the Dance Theater of Harlem and in 2016 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. “TCM is quite proud to be part of this special day,” Mankiewicz said.

Tyson was introduced by actor-director-writer-producer Tyler Perry, who directed the actress in his 2012 film Alex Cross.

“Cicely Tyson is incredibly strong,” Perry said, stressing Tyson’s strength, grace and class. “You have to be strong to survive in this business.”


Tyson took the podium to a rousing ovation. “I cannot tell you – it would be an understatement for me to try and tell you what this moment in time means to me,” she said, after jokingly acknowledging the “competition” offered by a helicopter flying above. She shared with the crowd her memory of her first arrival in Hollywood, when she got on a bicycle and rode around to acclimate herself to the area. She came upon Grauman’s Chinese theater and started looking around at all of the names of people who had planted their hands and feet in the cement.

“My first thought was, ‘Why in the world would they do that?’ – never dreaming that one day, I would be asked to do the same, and knowing the reason why,” Tyson said. “To say to TCM that the fact that you thought enough of what I was trying to do throughout my entire career was worthy of this moment – I cannot tell you how grateful I am.”

It was truly a thrill to see this nonagenarian speak in such a steady, powerful voice, and move with such grace, and dress with such panache – not to mention kneel on the carpet for I-don’t-know-how-long to put her hands in the cement! (I’d have never gotten up again!) She is an American treasure and a true inspiration.

Stay tuned for next month’s installment of the 2018 TCM Film Festival!

~ by shadowsandsatin on August 16, 2018.

4 Responses to “The 2018 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival: Still More Adventures in Paradise — Part II”

  1. thank you for sharing this!

  2. I know this sounds shallow, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE Cicely Tyson’s hair. So sleek.

    I also love that she was honoured in this way. What a thrill to experience this!

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