Year: 1996 (69th) Academy Awards
Category: Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award
Winner: Saul Zaentz
Presenter: Michael Douglas
Date & Venue: March 24, 1997; Shrine Auditorium & Expo Center
Thank you, Michael. Twenty-five years ago we worked together and he hasn't forgiven me since for yelling at him. But, that's show business.
I'd like to talk to [you] for a minute about passion. Don't move around in your chairs, or change the station on your TV set, as the following words will be innocent. Darryl Zanuck, Hal Wallis, David Selznick, Walt Disney and Samuel Goldwyn are among the giants who were the early recipients of this award. All are recognized as producers who brought passion to their films. And they were really bound together by their love of moviemaking. Passion is [the] immeasurable, indescribable factor that separates movie from movie. Passion moves freely across borders, speaks every language and flourishes in every culture. The movement of passion is the most gratifying satisfaction in any moviemaker's life. This happens when you see and hear people all over the world share their laughter, their crying and their sudden gasps at identical screen moments. Samuel Hoffenstein, a poet and screenwriter, poetically wrote, "The Holy Grail is not in the finding, it is in the journey." The Irving Thalberg Award memorializes a giant among giants who brought us a sense of film history. This belongs to the many with whom I have shared dreams and journeys. My cup is full. Thank you.
© Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
[Note: All winners are present except where noted; NOT all winners may have spoken.]