Year: 2009 (82nd) Academy Awards
Category: Honorary Award
Winner: To Gordon Willis for unsurpassed mastery of light, shadow, color and motion.
Presenter: Caleb Deschanel, Jeff Bridges
Date & Venue: November 14, 2009; The Governors Awards (Grand Ballroom, Hollywood & Highland Center)
Vilmos [Zsigmond] said I shouldn't drop this [referring to the Oscar], so I'm gonna put it down I think. I don't think I should be up here without a bulletproof vest on after Caleb's thing.
Thank you very much. I have one disappointment. I've done a lot of things in this business, but I've never worked for Roger Corman. And after I thought about it, it's the best thing that ever happened to him. I can't see too well anymore, unfortunately [pulling out his notes]; I made my own little thing up here.
My life in this business has been a series of, sort of great encounters, and they have been an embarrassment of riches as they say. I've always had an opportunity to do what I want, and the way I want, and I've always worked with the people that have given me that opportunity. In retrospect, I think probably every good thing that's ever happened to me happened because of another person. And fifty-four years ago, I met this darling girl and married her, had three kids, now five grandchildren, and along the way I met this remarkable group of directors, producers, very fine actors, and very fine technicians who extended themselves for me. And I can never really give them back what they gave to me; I had the best of it.
To the Academy, thank you very much. I really appreciate this. And a remark on a lighter vein. All the beautiful women that I worked with in this business that were terrified of looking like Marlon Brando; it's okay, it's over now. You're safe. And to all of you, do your best, take care of your kids. 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.]