Hollywood’s Ray Dolby Ballroom glittered with A-listers during Saturday night’s Governors Awards, but few were as honored as Alejandro González Iñárritu. The 54-year-old Mexican film director and screenwriter received a Special Award Oscar at the ninth annual ceremony on November 11, a prize that is rarely given out. The Academy's committee decided to recognize Alejandro’s newest venture CARNE Y ARENA (translation: Meat and Sand), which premiered at this year's Cannes festival. Aiming to throw "viewers into the harsh life of an immigrant,” the project is a virtual reality installation at LACMA. Sold out through February, the six and a half minute experience gives participants a first-hand narrative of a refugee. Alejandro gave a moving speech to the crowd upon his acceptance of the award.
Alejandro González Iñárritu received a Special Award Oscar at the 2017 Governor's Awards Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images
“I would like to thank the Academy Board of Governor for this honorable recognition, which moves me deeply,” the talent, who was the first Mexican director to ever be nominated for an Academy Award said. “As a Mexican, as an artist, and most importantly as a human being, I thank you from the depths of my heart for taking the time to experience CARNE Y ARENA and honoring it with this special award. There is no better prize in life than the one you win without competing.”
Alejandro was accompanied by his wife María Eladia Hagerman at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Governors Awards Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Saying he was honored “to share this space with” fellow honorees: Mrs. Agnes Varda, Owen Roizman, Charles Burnett and Donald Sutherland, the storyteller went on to discuss how much CARNE Y ARENA means to him. “This project was born as a creative experiment with no commercial or profit intentions and so many people just trusted in it and gave so much, even when we did not know how to do it or how it would end. And I would like to thank them first.”
The 2017 Governors Awards saw countless celebrity attendees, including: Salma Hayek Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images
After thanking many of his collaborators and loved ones individually, the visionary remarked that he wanted to “share a brief reflection.” Before the crowd of stars, which included: Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Jennifer Lawrence and more, Alejandro made the bold statement that “it hasn’t been the people, but the ideas we have about those people, and the ideas they have about us” that causes issues in the world.
He went on to make a meaningful dedication of his award, saying: “I dedicate and receive this beautiful recognition on behalf of all the immigrants from Mexico, Central America, Asia, Africa, and all corners of the world whose reality has been ignored and held hostage by ideologies and definitions, denying them the possibility of being understood and loved.” After the starry ceremony, Alejandro kept the festivites going, heading to Leonardo DiCaprio's birthday bash at The Highlight Room in L.A. according to TMZ.