This just in… Paul Harris’ acceptance speech

Feb. 24, 2009

Good evening everybody.

Mike, Paul, what the heck?

Thank you so much, ladies and gentlemen, for that warm accolade. But please hold your applause, I’ve only got a minute here before the orchestra cranks up.

It is again my distinct pleasure to stand before you holding this lovely statuette. Wow, two years in a row. How is it possible, you ask, that I continue to display such a profound and uncanny perspective of the film world? Could it be my deep roots in the entertainment industry as Variety’s D.C. mugg, a position I continue to hold after 30-plus years as a freelancer? Or the direct pipeline to Hollywood from the annual recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors who are constantly badgering me to have lunch?

Oh gosh, I have so many people to thank. I just scribbled down some names on a roll of toilet paper in the men’s room back stage – oh, here it is.

But first, I just have to say this. Oh Jennifer, you continue to be a class act. Why, just look at you sitting there right behind Brad and Angelina as if absolutely nothing were amiss. Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is acting. There needs to be a special award here tonight to honor her – but I digress.

First, I want to thank my parents, without whom this evening would not be possible. And of course my agent, Virginia Michie, who has stuck with me throughout the highs and lows of my long, long, long, long career.

And I guess I should say a few kind words about my wife, Karen, who is my spiritual advisor in all things Hollywood and ever-so-slightly more than just a bit player in this tawdry act.

Oh, and yes, please hold onto that winner’s check, as you did last year without any prompting. The honor of addressing this august gathering is its own reward.