Jamie Foxx Makes First Appearance Post-Hospitalization

Jamie Foxx Makes First Appearance Post-Hospitalization

Jamie Foxx made a surprise appearance at the Critics Choice Association‘s Celebration of Cinema and Television: Honoring Black, Latino and AAPI Achievements on Monday night, taking the stage for his first public outing following his sudden hospitalization in April.

Foxx was honored with the Vanguard Award for his acclaimed performance in “The Burial,” from Amazon’s Prime Video. The Oscar and Grammy-winner also starred in Netflix’s “They Cloned Tyrone,” which earned him a Gotham Award nomination last month.

Jurnee Smollett presented the award to her “Burial” co-star, saying he’s a “true vanguard, a pioneer who has broken down barriers and inspired generations of artists like myself to be bold, audacious dreamers.”

“Working with Jamie, I found a generous scene partner I can lean on and trust,” Smollett said on stage. “Even though we were playing rivals battling it out in the courtroom, in him, I found a great cheerleader — one who on our very first day shooting y’all he came, and right after the third take, he came up to me, he’s like, ‘Man, you are killing this role.’ Now I don’t think he understands what that kind of support means to someone like me who’s watched him my entire life.”

Foxx received a standing ovation while walking across the stage. The awards ceremony marks the first time Foxx has attended a Hollywood event since April, when he was sidelined by a sudden medical complication — an emergency that also halted production on his upcoming Netflix film “Back in Action.”

“You know, it’s crazy, I couldn’t do that six months ago — I couldn’t actually walk,” Foxx said at the beginning of his acceptance speech before taking a pause. “I’m not a clone, I’m not a clone. I know a lot of people who was saying I was cloned out there,” he continued with a laugh.

Foxx reflected on his recent health battle, telling the audience, “I wouldn’t wish what I went through on my worst enemy, because it’s tough.”

He added, “I have a new respect for life. I have a new respect for my art. I watched so many movies and listened to so many songs trying to have the time go by. Don’t give up on your art, man, don’t give up.”

Details regarding Foxx’s health were scarce in the weeks following his hospitalization in Atlanta. In May, the actor released a statement thanking fans for their “love” and assuring them he was “feeling blessed” amid his recovery; then he was spotted on a boat in Chicago in July. Later that month, Foxx released an emotional video message alluding to the severity of his medical condition and thanking his family for their support.

“I know a lot of people were waiting, wanting to hear updates. But, to be honest with you, I just didn’t want you to see me like that, man,” Foxx said in the social media clip. “I want you to see me laughing and having a good time, partying, cracking a joke, doing a movie or television show. I didn’t want you to see me with tubes running out of me and trying to figure out if I was going to make it through.”

Monday night’s Critics Choice celebration, which also saw Foxx’s “They Cloned Tyrone” producer, Macro chief Charles D. King among the honorees, was held at the Fairmont Century Plaza and hosted by “P-Valley” star Nicco Annan. Alongside Foxx and King, the lineup of honorees included Edward James Olmos, who was presented with the Icon Award; Sheryl Lee Ralph, who received the Career Achievement Award; and Ken Jeong, who accepted the Comedy Trailblazer Award.

“Rustin” and “The Color Purple” star Colman Domingo was also honored with the Actor Award – Film and Ensemble. Inside the event, Domingo delivered a rousing speech to accept the honor, which he previewed on the carpet, saying, “I believe that we’re righting some wrongs of history, which we’re able to do with art. We can correct the past in some ways.”

He went on to explain to Variety how he prepared to portray his longtime hero, the often-overlooked civil rights activist Bayard Rustin. While he put in an impressive 40 hours a week to prepare for the “Euphoria” bridge episode “Trouble Don’t Last Always,” he went beyond that for “Rustin.” “This, I went even further, because that’s how much I respect the work. I had, like, five months of prep and probably prepped maybe 50 hours a week.”

Contrasting “Rustin,” Domingo stepped into the shoes of an antagonist as Mister in “The Color Purple.” He detailed how he explored the psychology of abuse to fully understand his character.

“I was in the light first [with ‘Rustin’] and then I had to go to the darkness. But I felt like I understood I had to really find that place. Because it lives in all of us, the light and the dark,” he said. “I had to find what I loved about him and what helps fuel his redemption story. And also the fact that he gets redeemed — we don’t usually see that.”

Domingo concluded his remarks by emphasizing that the lessons of “The Color Purple” are as relevant as ever.

“I wanted to also find that little bit of toxic masculinity that [Mister] needed to shed in order for him to become a full functioning human being in the world. So for me, it’s a greater examination of all that of all the stuff that we’re dealing with today. So it’s not a dusty old story. It’s the tropes that I’m trying to help deconstruct,” he shared. “So men and, in particular Black men, but also men in general, can also learn to become a bit softer and understand that it’s part of our power. And also to be the feminist that I know that I am, maybe perhaps Mister turned into a feminist by the end. That’s what I like to believe.”

Lenny Kravitz was in attendance to present the award to Domingo. On the carpet, Kravitz spoke to the significance of sharing Rustin’s story: “When you think about the March on Washington, what an event that was and what that did for the civil rights movement, what it did for Martin Luther King — and here’s this gentleman who was the architect behind that, who didn’t get noticed because of who he was being an openly gay Black man at that time. It’s very important that his story is told, and that people know what his contribution was, to the movement, to the cause.”

Later in the night, America Ferrera delivered a powerful speech when accepting the Groundbreaker Award, speaking to the difficult experiences that minorities often face in Hollywood.

“The truth is that so many of us in this room have spent our lives and our careers breaking ground. And while it feels so good to be acknowledged and celebrated and recognized for doing so, what so many of us in this room understand is that it doesn’t always feel so good to blaze new trails,” she said. “It can be uncomfortable, disheartening and lonely at times to be the first or the only person like yourself in the room, on the set, or in the meeting. Because breaking ground requires friction. It requires input against solid and sometimes concrete structures that don’t want to break.”

Ferrera also acknowledged the trailblazers that lit the way for her, including Sidney Poitier, Dolores Huerta, and fellow honoree Edward James Olmos.

“They call us and they compel us to persist in the work, to lay our portion of the path but to protect our joy. And we do that, as far as I can tell, by seeing each other, by witnessing our shared experiences. It is our responsibility and our duty to hold each other up to celebrate one another’s efforts and to pull each other through so that we might endure longer, pave more of the road together and hand better tools over to the next generation coming up.”

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