Jamie Foxx made a surprise appearance at the Critics Choice Association’s Celebration of Cinema and Television: Honoring Black, Latino and AAPI Achievements event on Monday night, marking his first public outing since he was hospitalized for a medical complication in April.
Foxx, whose honor was not announced in advance, received the Vanguard Award for his performance in The Burial and took to the stage unassisted, showing off his trademark wit and humor as he discusses the health challenges he’s faced this year.
“I couldn’t do that six months ago, I couldn’t actually walk to [the stage]. And I’m not a clone, I’m not a clone. I know a lot of people saying that I was cloned out there,” he jokingly told the crowd at the Fairmont Plaza Hotel in Century City. “It feels good to be here. I cherish every single minute now, it’s different. I wouldn’t wish what I went through on my worst enemy because it’s tough when it’s almost over, when you see the tunnel. I saw the tunnel, I didn’t see the light. It was hot in that tunnel too, I don’t know where I was going. ‘Shit, am I going to the right place?’”
Foxx went to explain the new appreciation he felt for his life and his career, saying, “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 on your art. When you realize that it could be over like that… I got to tell you don’t give up on your art and don’t let them take the art from you either.”
In April, Foxx’s daughter Corinne initially shared the news that the actor was hospitalized while filming Netflix’s Back in Action in Atlanta. At the time, she noted he was “already on his way to recovery,” but shared few other details before a May update confirmed Foxx had left the hospital and was back home “recuperating.” In August, Foxx posted on Instagram that he was “finally startin to feel like myself.” The exact details of Foxx’s medical issue have not been released publicly.
Last month, ahead of the deadline to file lawsuits under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, Foxx was accused of groping in 2015 a woman. He has not commented.
In addition to Foxx, the Critics Choice Association’s celebration recognized a long list of honorees including Charles Melton, Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Greta Lee, Colman Domingo, Damson Idris, Jeffrey Wright and Sheryl Lee Ralph.
Melton was recognized with the Breakthrough Actor award for his work in the Netflix film May December. He spoke to how acting helped him find himself when he struggled with his identity.
“As a biracial Korean American growing up on military bases throughout the world, I felt invisible at times and too visible to others. Half Korean, half American, never fully belonging, never quite whole. It was through acting that I was able to discover my place in this world. It was through [his character] Joe that I understood my identity just a little bit more. Working through his eyes I’ve come to know again the feeling of stepping into something whether you’re ready for it or not,” Melton said. “I am the son of an immigrant mother and a military father who at times grew up confused and bewildered by my identity. Now I know that I was never half of anything; I was always whole. A whole human, flawed but complete.”
The cast of The Color Purple was also honored with the Ensemble Award, as star Taraji P. Henson spoke to her journey of portraying Shug Avery in the film.
“My relationship to Shug goes back aways. I turned down the Broadway role for many reasons. I studied musical theater in college and I just knew that my instrument would not withstand eight shows a week, so I declined. But the beautiful thing about destiny and this is why I saw we don’t compete, we don’t have to — what’s yours is coming. I ran from Shug, and some twenty years later she found me,” Henson said. “It was such an honor to inhabit her, for her to come back to me and teach me things about myself I didn’t know. She helped me lean into my sweetness a little more. I felt her power, her spirit, her strength all through me and to be a part of this beautiful sisterhood up here y’all when you see the chemistry we have on screen that’s because that’s who we are off screen.”
Xolo Maridueña, the star of Blue Beetle , was given the Rising Star Award and credited director Angel Manuel Soto with protecting him during the making of the film.
“My name Xolo means that north star and I really feel that places like the Critics Choice Association are able to help me grow in to my name,” the actor shared. “This is a project that has forever changed my life before we even hit the first day of filming and it’s because Angel protected us. You understood the story that needed to be told and you made sure that not only the actors and everyone in front of the camera was safe and welcomed but everyone behind the camera as well. I don’t know how myself, my family, my ancestors will ever be able to repay you but I hope that this award is a constant reminder of the history that you made brother,” the star told his director.
Eva Longoria received the Breakthrough Director Award for Flamin’ Hot, which marked her first movie as a director. In her acceptance speech, she credited Paul Feig for encouraging to finally step behind the camera.
“I am directing because of Paul and Kerry Washington. Kerry and I had a film at Universal and we were interviewing directors and every time we had a director meeting we just didn’t find the right one. And Kerry said, ‘Why don’t you direct this?’ And I said, ‘No, I can’t. It needs to be somebody like Paul Feig.’ So we got a meeting with Paul and he read the script and talked to us and he said ‘I really think Eva should direct this,’” Longoria remembered. “We didn’t end up doing that movie but we got the script for Flamin’ Hot and it was Paul’s mentorship that really got me through that movie. We need allies and Paul is one of them.”
A total of 23 awards were passed out during the emotional evening, as several honorees came to tears speaking about their journey. Edward James Olmos, Ken Jeong, Charles D. King, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Kemp Powers, Makoto Shinkai, Allen Hughes, Jessica Williams, Oscar Montoya, Lee Sung Jin, Teyana Taylor, Camila Morrone and Keivonn Woodard were also toasted at the event.