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She said receiving an Oscar for philanthropy is “unimaginable” given her humble beginnings in Mississippi.

“It’s impossible for you to even know what this journey has meant,” Winfrey said.

Appearing in “The Color Purple” was “one of the greatest experiences of my life,” she said, When Quincy Jones tapped her for the role of Sofia _ for which she earned an Oscar nomination for supporting actress _ he changed the course of her career.

“I’d like to do more films, but to receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award means more to me than any film, any acclaim, even an Oscar, because what it says is you all get it,” Winfrey said. “What this really means is that you all understand that what I’ve been trying to do, what I’ve been trying to say all these years, (which) is that all of us can make a difference through the life that we live.”

Winfrey said she plans to keep her new Oscar front and center on her desk.

“For me this Oscar will represent love from all of you,” she said. “I thank you for your vote of love and I will use it to increase the open space in my heart to continue to do the great and good work that we all have come to do.”

The film academy launched its Governors Awards three years ago to pay tribute to winners of honorary Oscars _ prizes previously presented during the Academy Awards telecast. Governors from its 15 branches chose Saturday’s winners.

Highlights from the event will be available online at Oscars.org and included in the Academy Awards telecast in February.

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AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/APSandy .