Year: 1994 (67th) Academy Awards
Category: Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
Winner: Quincy Jones
Presenter: Oprah Winfrey
Date & Venue: March 27, 1995; Shrine Auditorium & Expo Center
Thank you. It's nice to feel important. I think maybe a bit more important to be nice, though. This moment, this evening, this spot where I stand tonight was not my destination when I was young and full of vinegar. I did not engineer this journey. To tell you the truth, I don't think I could even see this far. And now that I'm older and full of wonder, I can see that maybe other forces were at the wheel.
You may have seen my mother Sarah in my music and witnessed the laughter and tears of my children, of my family. They were the pillars beneath this life of mine; theirs is the humanity reflected in this moment. You may be familiar with the countless shoulders that I stood upon to just see where I might go. They were the pillars that were beneath my life; theirs is the humanity reflected in this moment. I also hope you can see reflections of the gift of friendship so generously given to me by Benny Carter, Sidney Poitier, Mo Ostin—happy birthday, Mo—Clarence Avant, and Steve Ross, my gurus of givingness, and the multitude of others who too have been pillars beneath this life of mine. I accept this great honor in their names on this, the proudest day of my life. Thank you, governors of the Academy, for including me in such prestigious company.
And you Americans out there, please join the rising support for the National Endowment for the Arts. Each act of creation can be another powerful pillar beneath this life of this wonderful and troubled nation of ours. Who knows, the next artist we support may one day stand before you as I do now -- humble, proud, cool, and so thankful. Thank you all.
© Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
[Note: All winners are present except where noted; NOT all winners may have spoken.]