"Tradition is that each AFI Awards luncheon ends as one person raises a glass to artistry, excellence and to inspiration, and today, it is my honor to raise a glass to the artistry, excellence and inspiration of Cicely Tyson," Freeman said from his home in a video posted on YouTube Friday.
Highlights from Tyson's decades-long career then played.
Tyson, 96, died on Jan. 28.
She was best known for her roles in Twelve Angry Men, Odds Against Tomorrow, The Comedians, A Man Called Adam, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Sounder, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Roots and The Women of Brewster Place.
Her credits also included The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, Trip to Bountiful, Bustin' Loose, Fried Green Tomatoes, Hoodlum and Madam Secretary.
In recent years, she was a frequent collaborator of actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry. They worked together on Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea's Family Reunion, Why Did I Get Married Too? and Alex Cross.
In addition to earning three Emmys, a Tony and SAG Award, she was presented with an honorary Oscar in 2018 and a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.