Leslie Uggams So ‘Booked and Busy’ She May Not Make It to Oscars

Leslie Uggams on the Tamron Hall show and in Deadpool. (Credit: Tamron Hall and 20th Century Fox)

Leslie Uggams refuses to slow down, even at age 80.

The stage and screen legend got a standing ovation as she walked on stage during the Monday, Feb. 19 episode of the Tamron Hall show.

Uggams discussed her roles in American Fiction, Deadpool & Wolverine, the off-Broadway musical Jelly’s Last Jam, and her show Leslie Uggams: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue at 54 Below in New York.

In American Film, Uggams plays Agnes Ellison, homophobic mom to prickly novelist Thelonious ‘Monk’ Ellison (Jeffrey Wright), gay cosmetic surgeon Clifford Ellison (Sterling K. Brown), and physician Lisa Ellison (Tracee Ellis Ross).

The film is nominated for five Oscars, including best picture.

“When it was sent to me, I said, ‘Oh my gosh, this is too good to be true.’ It was written so well,” Uggams said about American Fiction. “Then they said Jeffrey Wright and I said, ‘What time do I start?'”

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Host Tamron Hall asked the Tony and Emmy winner what she plans to wear to the Academy Awards on March 10, but the Roots star said she may not be able to squeeze a trip to Los Angeles into her busy schedule.

“I’m working. I’m doing Jelly’s Last Jam at City Center and by the time we finish, I have to be at 54 Below for three days doing my act, so I don’t even know if I can get out there,” Uggams said.

Hall replied, “Wait! She’s so booked and busy at the beautiful age of 80 that you may not make it to the Oscars.”

“Hello!” Uggams said to applause.

The Harlem native has been acting since the 1960s, with roles in I Spy, The Love Boat, A Different World, Nurse Jackie, Empire, The Good Wife, New Amsterdam, the Deadpool films, the award-winning 2022 thriller Nanny, and numerous other projects.

At a news conference for American Fiction on Dec. 3 in West Hollywood, Jeffrey Wright praised Uggams for paving the way for other Black artists.

“I realized we were there [filming] with Leslie Uggams, who is one of those who marched on the figurative Washington, in terms of our industry,” Wright said. “Leslie told me that her career really started by winning the talent show at the Apollo when she was 14 or 15 years old… her journey is seminal. We stand on her shoulders.”

Uggams wasn’t able to make it to California for the news conference, but the cast and director Cord Jefferson all sang her praises.

Watch the video below of Leslie Uggams on Tamron Hall. The actress is shown above on the talk show and in Deadpool.