Year: 1979 (52nd) Academy Awards
Category: Honorary Award
Winner: To Alec Guinness for advancing the art of screen acting through a host of memorable and distinguished performances.
Presenter: Dustin Hoffman
Date & Venue: April 14, 1980; Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. And thank you, Mr. Hoffman, for your over-generous words and all that deep research work you did.
It's five weeks ago that I had a telegram from the Academy telling me they were doing me this great honor, so I've had the time to recover from the shock. But I don't think I will ever have time to get over my amazement and my delight. There isn't time for me to thank everyone – directors, writers, fellow actors – who've made my life such a happy one, including those wonderful Hollywood stars who were my heroes when I was a youth.
You know, when I was a drama student forty-seven years ago, I think, there used to be a formidable lady who came to take classes of what she called "film technique." And she arrived with a large wooden frame about four-foot square which she placed in front of our faces saying it was a close-up. And then she barked at us: Show fear, anger, joy, despair. And I quickly learned how to get maybe a laugh or two out of my fellow students. And then it dawned on me that, if I was seriously going to have a career in movies, the wisest thing was to do absolutely nothing at all. And that is more or less what I've done since then. I feel very fraudulent taking this, but not letting any expression pass over my face, I thank you most sincerely for the warmth of your reception and your great kindness; and to Dustin, again. And I'm grabbing this while the going's good. Thank you. Good night.
© Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
[Note: All winners are present except where noted; NOT all winners may have spoken.]