Ask a Librarian
Home / Oscars / Awards Databases / Academy Awards Acceptance Speeches
Watch the video
Year: 1997 (70th) Academy Awards
Category: Honorary Award
Winner: To Stanley Donen in appreciation of a body of work marked by grace, elegance, wit and visual innovation.
Presenter: Martin Scorsese
Date & Venue: March 23, 1998; Shrine Auditorium & Expo Center
Marty, it's backwards, I should be giving this to you, believe me. And I want to thank the Board of Governors for this cute little fella which to me looks titanic. Tonight, words seem inadequate. In musicals that's when we do a song, so... [music begins, singing:]
Heaven, I'm in heaven,
and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak,
and I seem to find the happiness I seek,
when we're out together dancing cheek to cheek.
[Does a brief tap dance; continues speaking with the music.]
I'm going to let you in on the secret of being a good director. For the script you get Larry Gelbart, or Peter Stone, or Huyck and Katz, or Frederic Raphael -- like that. If it's a musical, for the songs you get George and Ira Gershwin, or Arthur Freed and Herb Brown, or Leonard Bernstein and Comden and Green, or Alan Lerner and Fritz Loewe -- like that. Then you cast Cary Grant, or Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Sophia Loren, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Gregory Peck, Elizabeth Taylor, Burt Reynolds, Gene Hackman or Frank Sinatra -- like that. When filming starts you show up and you stay the hell out of the way. But you've got to show up, you've got to show up. Otherwise you can't take the credit and get one of these fellas. Thank you very much.
© Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences[Note: All winners are present except where noted; NOT all winners may have spoken.]