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The Hollywood visionary award went to filmmaker Ava DuVernay, the first black woman to win best director at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012 for Middle of Nowhere. DuVernay, who directed an episode of the current season of “Scandal,” was presented her honor by actress Kerry Washington.

“Ava has firmly established herself as the gutsiest of storytellers and working with her is so inspiring,” said Washington, who, with one hand resting on her pregnant belly, wiped away tears with the other during DuVernay’s acceptance speech.

The magazine also celebrated the champions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as this year marks the 50th anniversary of its signing. Clarence Williams III, Denise Nicholas, Diahann Carroll, Dr. Maya Angelou, Jim Brown and Nichelle Nichols were commended.

Nicholas, Brown and Nichols took the stage to accept their medals after a short video highlighted their activism. “It’s just beautiful that among the fanfare during Oscar week, we are able to honor each other and our work,” said Angela Bassett. “It is undeniable the imprint that we’ve made.”

The Oscars air Sunday at 8:30 p.m. on CBS.

(Photo: PR Photos)

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