Angelina Jolie became the youngest recipient of the movie industry's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award on Saturday, delivering an emotional acceptance speech honoring her late mother and singling out her and partner Brad Pitt's children.
As multiple news outlets reported of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Governors Awards, Jolie, 38, accepted the statuette from filmmaker George Lucas, actress Gena Rowlands and the cast of the Jolie-directed feature "In The Land of Blood and Honey." She thanked Pitt, among others, calling him, "My love. Your support and your guidance make everything I do possible."
She spoke about her transformation from actress to humanitarian saying, "I've learned what life is like for most people in this world. And how fortunate I was to have food to eat and a roof over my head, a safe place to live and the joy of having my family safe and healthy. And I have realized how sheltered I have been. And I was determined never to be that way again."
She later told the audience, "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 I did as she asked and if she were alive she'd be very proud, so thank you."
Jolie's mother, actress and producer Marcheline Bertrand, died of ovarian cancer in 2007 at age 56.
From the stage, Jolie told her son Maddox, 12, who accompanied his parents to the event at the Hollywood & Highland Center's Ray Dolby Ballroom, "I'm not going to cry, I promise. I'm not going to embarrass you. You and your brothers and sisters are my happiness and there is no greater honor in this world than being your mom."
Jolie is a longtime advocate for humanitarian causes, traveling worldwide on behalf of groups including the Council on Foreign Relations and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin and costume designer Piero Tosi each received lifetime-achievement Honorary Oscars that same night.