By Stacy M. Brown
Senior National Correspondent
In an emotional comeback, Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx took center stage at the Critics’ Choice Association’s Celebration of Cinema & Television on Monday, December 4, marking his first major Hollywood appearance since a medical emergency in April left him battling for his life.
Foxx, 55, made a surprise entrance at the event to honor Black, Latino, and AAPI achievements in the entertainment industry. Anita Bennett, the creator of Urban Hollywood 411, reported that Jurnee Smollett, Foxx’s co-star in the Prime Video film “The Burial,” introduced a montage of clips from Foxx’s illustrious career and presented him with the night’s prestigious Vanguard Award.
Bennett noted that as Foxx stepped onto the stage, the audience erupted in applause. The actor, known for his versatility in acting and music, delivered a mix of jokes, songs, and heartfelt moments. However, emotions ran high as he opened up about his recent health struggles.
“I’ve been through something. I’ve been through some things. It’s crazy, I couldn’t do that six months ago, I couldn’t actually walk to…” Foxx’s voice trailed off, and he fought back tears, prompting someone from the audience to encourage him to take his time.
“Six months ago, I could not fathom that I would be here,” Foxx continued, alluding to the unexpected medical emergency that led to his hospitalization in Georgia on April 11 while filming the Netflix movie “Back in Action.” Although he did not disclose the specifics of his illness, he shared that there were moments when he doubted his recovery.
“It feels good to be here. I cherish every single minute now. It’s different,” Foxx said, while also humorously recounting moments when strangers recognized him during his low-key rehabilitation in Chicago. He told the audience that early on, he wasn’t sure he’d pull through. “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,” he said. “I want to thank you for all the prayers.”
Foxx continued: “The one thing that I have to get used to now is [when people say] ‘Lord, have mercy, Jesus. I’ll be driving, and somebody will pull up and hit me with that.” He then recalled undergoing physical rehabilitation in Chicago after being released from the hospital.
Foxx said his family went to great lengths to protect his privacy, and he wore a face mask so no one would recognize him. “No one knew where I was. No one knew what was going on,” he explained, adding that a woman who worked at the rehab center’s front desk eventually made him remove the mask.
“The Black lady that was checking me in… at one point she said, ‘Well baby, I’m gonna have to see your face if I’m going to sign you in here. I run a tight ship, and I’m gonna have to see your face,’” Foxx said while doing an impression of the woman.
As he continued the story, he began to get emotional. “I took the mask down and she saw me… she said, ‘Lord, have mercy, Jesus. I’ve been praying for you,’” Foxx recalled. “I said, ‘Wow.’ And that indicated that once I did get out of all of this, I was going to be alright.”