The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences awarded Angelina Jolie‘s staunch commitment to service with an honorary Oscar at the 2013 Governor’s Awards on Saturday. Jolie received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an accolade that, occording to the Academy website, is periodically given to an “individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.” In a tearful acceptance speech, the Oscar winner paid tribute to her late mother, Marcheline Bertrand, citing the deceased as the inspiration for her philanthropic spirit.
“My mother loved art,” Jolie said of Bertrand, who died in 2007 following a battle with ovarian cancer. “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.’”
“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,” Jolie said.
During the emotional speech, the 38-year-old actress also extended thanks to her family as Brad Pitt and their 12-year-old son Maddox watched proudly from the audience.
“My love, your support and your guidance make everything that I do possible,” she said to Pitt. Speaking to her children, Jolie added, “Mad…You and your brothers and sisters are my happiness and there’s no greater honor in this world than being your mom.”
Jolie also praised 96-year-old prisoner of war survivor Louis Zamperini, calling the former Olympian her “hero.” She is currently directing a film based on Zamperini’s life entitled “Unbroken.”
The “Girl Interrupted” star closed with an emotional pledge to honor her mother’s memory.
“I will do the best I can with this life to be of use,” she said. ”To stand here today means I did as she asked and if she were alive, she’d be very proud.”