Morgan Freeman Thanks Nelson Mandela

02/02/2010 at 01:00 PM EST

Morgan Freeman Thanks Nelson Mandela
Morgan Freeman
Andrew H. Walker/Getty

Matt Damon

Matt Damon

"I'd like to thank the Academy for this extraordinary honor. Congratulations to Matt Damon on his nomination. I'm especially grateful to Clint Eastwood, Invictus producer, Lori McCreary, and the entire cast and crew of Invictus. Most importantly, thank you to Nelson Mandela for his encouragement, his blessing and his friendship – without which, this film would not have been possible."

• Best Actor nominee Morgan Freeman makes a statement regarding his – and his costar's – Oscar honor.

The 82nd annual Academy Awards, to be co-hosted by Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, take place Sunday, March 7, and will air live on ABC starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
– Alexis Chiu

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