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Year: 1979 (52nd) Academy Awards
Category: Documentary (Feature)
Film Title: Best Boy
Winner: Ira Wohl, Producer
Presenter: William Shatner, Persis Khambatta
Date & Venue: April 14, 1980; Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
So what's a nice Jewish boy from Queens doing in a place like this? This is a great personal honor for me and it's particularly wonderful because it's associated with a film of which I feel so very proud. "Best Boy" took three-and-a-half years to make but it was very much a labor of love. And it tells the story of my fifty-two-year-old cousin Philly, who's mentally retarded, and his parents who are near eighty and about how he finally comes to separate from them as their lives end and his life has to go on. The film has been seen mainly on the East Coast, and with documentaries it's not always easy to get people to come and see the film. And if this award will help more people to come and see it then it will really be doing its job.
I want to thank the Association for the Help of Retarded Children in New York City for their support of the film and for the wonderful work they did with Philly. I want to thank the entire crew, but in particular Tom McDonough, director of photography, who gave his sensitivity and intelligence and understanding and made the film much more than it would have otherwise been. I want to thank my cousins Frances and Norman, my aunt and uncle who are no longer alive, my aunt Pearl, my uncle Max. And most of all I want to thank my cousin Philly who gave me the opportunity to do the most important thing I've ever done in my life and who has continually reminded me how very delicate and beautiful any single human life can be. Thank you.
© Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences[Note: All winners are present except where noted; NOT all winners may have spoken.]