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Year: 1999 (72nd) Academy Awards
Category: Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award
Winner: Warren Beatty
Presenter: Jack Nicholson
Date & Venue: March 26, 2000; Shrine Auditorium & Expo Center
Thank you. You know, although some might say it's a little soon to be giving this thing to a guy in his early forties... To have known that I was going to get it, particularly this year with all the... It's been very helpful around the house. I must say that if you had your choice and you could get the Thalberg Award or the White House, I think I'd stick with this. I don't want to talk politics here and I don't want to suggest some direction that the movies should go into, but I think I would like to, if I may, pay tribute to the memory of my mother Kathlyn, my father Ira, and to the people who nurtured me as a child in Virginia with my sister Shirley, and beginning with Stella Adler and Elia Kazan, and to all the people who worked with me and taught me.
I came to Hollywood when I was in my early twenties. Many of the previous winners of this award actually taught me. You know, Sam Goldwyn was in his eighties, God bless him, and he treated me like a grown-up. Now it's very interesting, I think that most of the people who are teaching me now, they all seem to be in their early twenties and I do whatever I can to keep them -- I try to get them to stop treating me like a grown-up. But I thank them, I thank them.
I thank my profession for giving me freedom and access. The freedom to live a much fuller life apart from the movies, and the access to get out and get to know the world and then come back and go back to making movies. Please forgive me for not making more of them. I'll try to do better. Thank you so much for encouraging my voice in public affairs. Please forgive me if I've used it stridently, or in fact not often enough. I'll try to do better. To my fellow actors, I would like to say thank you. Thank you for making me look good. I'm first, last, and always an actor, my pride in that is unbounded. Please forgive me for being a producer. I'll try to do better.
[To Jack Nicholson on stage:] You can't hear me? Let me tell you this... alright.
Okay, now, to those of you who may have heard rumor here or there of my life in Hollywood as a single man. The poet wrote, "Only solitary men know the true joy of friendship. Others have their family, but to a solitary man his friends are everything." So I want to thank you, my friends, for leading me through those days, and finally, in fact, leading me to Annette. Please forgive me for making her unavailable to your movies four times -- that's four times. I would like to say I'll try to do better, but you and I know that I won't. So, let's just say that I'll try to do less. Yes, I'll try to do less. She is my treasure. She has given me what I value most, her love. And she's given me Kathlyn and Ben and Isabel and at the moment, this much anticipated and very loved unnamed being, who could actually join us any minute right here in the second row if I don't wrap this up.
So, I cannot imagine a public circumstance in which so many affirmations of work and life that could converge at one time. Let me put it another way -- as a screenwriter, I'd never sit still for it. You know, you can't have the husband up here getting this thing and the wife down there maybe getting that thing, and she's having a baby at the same time. It doesn't work, you have to throw it out, you have to pick one, they'll never believe it. So, I would say to you, don't worry, I don't ever expect another evening like this to be so full. But there are some things that really aren't going to change. They don't have to change, and please listen to me on this, Kathlyn and Ben and Isabel, I know you're not in bed. The things that don't have to change for us are our reliability of friendship, the sanctity of our family, and the dignity of our work. Thank you very much from way down here.
© Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences[Note: All winners are present except where noted; NOT all winners may have spoken.]