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Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. It’s quite overwhelming. Thank you to the members of the Academy for this honor. My dear friends who are here tonight, Gena and George, for your kind words, to my hero, Louis Zamperini, to the cast of ‘Blood and Honey’ and most of all, to my family, my love. Your support and your guidance make everything that I do possible. Mad, I’m not gonna cry. I promise, and I won’t embarrass you. You and your brothers and your sisters are my happiness. And there is no a greater honor in this world than being your mom.
I’m very humble to be here tonight among so many extraordinary artists. My mother loved art. She loved film. She supported any crazy thing I did, but whenever it had meaning, she made a point of telling me, ‘That is what film is for’. And she never had a career as an artist, she never had the opportunity to express herself beyond her theater class, but she wanted more than for herself. She wanted for Jamie and I to know what it is to have a life as artists. And she – she gave us that chance. She drove me to every audition, and she’d wait in the car for hours, always make me feel really good all the times I didn’t get the job. And when I did, we would jump up and down and scream and yell like little girls.
She wasn’t really the best critic, since she never had anything unkind to say, but she did give me love and confidence, and above all, she was very clear that nothing would mean anything if I didn’t live a life of use to others. And I didn’t know what that meant for a long time. I came into this business young and worried about my own experiences and my own pain and it was only when I began to travel and look and live beyond my home, that I understand my responsibility to others.
And when I met survivors of war and famine and rape, I learned what life is like for most people in this world and how fortunate I was to have food to eat, a roof over my head, a safe place to live and the joy of having my family safe and healthy. And I realized how sheltered I have been. And I was determined never to be that way again. We are all, everyone in this room so fortunate.
I have never understood why some people are lucky enough to be born with the chance that I had, to have this path in life and why across the world, there is a woman just like me, with the same abilities and the same desires, same work ethic and love for her family, who would most likely make better films and better speeches. Only she sits in a refugee camp, and she has no voice. She worries about what her children will eat, how to keep them safe, and if they’ll ever be allowed to return home. I don’t know why this is my life and that’s hers. I don’t understand that but I will do as my mother asked, and I will do the best I can with this life, to be of use. And to stand here today means that I did as she asked. And if she were alive, she would be very proud.
So thank you for that.
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