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Year: 1998 (71st) Academy Awards
Category: Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award
Winner: Norman Jewison
Presenter: Nicolas Cage
Date & Venue: March 21, 1999; Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Not bad for a goy. What do you say, Irving? They really keep this show going. Forty years of filmmaking and they did it in three minutes! Well, Irving, you're one heavy dude. I'll tell you that... You want to hold him? He's about twenty pounds!
There's a lot of people to thank, of course, but Irving once said that brevity is a great virtue. So, I accept this great honor tonight in the names of all those people who have contributed to my work, my life's work. Forty years ago, I sat at William Wyler's feet and tried to learn how to make movies. And Willy Wyler was a god to me, and he won this award. And I think that's what is so meaningful to me, to join all those filmmakers that have gone before. I would like to thank my immediate loved ones, my family, every actor, writer, editor, cinematographer, production designer, costume designer, sound man and editor I've ever worked with. All those crews in Europe and Canada and the United States.
And my one real regret about winning this prize is that, you know, it's not like the Nobel or the Pulitzer. I mean, the Thalberg Award comes with no money attached. If it did, if it did, I would share it with the Canadian Film Centre and the AFI where the next generation of filmmakers are preparing to entertain the world in the new millennium. And my parting thought to all those young filmmakers is this: Just find some good stories. Never mind the gross, the top ten, bottom ten, what's the rating, what's the demographic. You know something, the biggest grossing picture is not necessarily the best picture, I want to tell you something. So just tell stories that move us to laughter and tears, and perhaps reveal a little truth about ourselves. And as for myself, I hope to see you again next year!
© Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences[Note: All winners are present except where noted; NOT all winners may have spoken.]