Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts has accepted the 2007 American Cinematheque award at a ceremony in Los Angeles.
Roberts stars opposite Tom Hanks in her next film
"I really am just a girl from a little town in Georgia, who had this giant, absurd dream," she said.
The actress, who has three young children, said she was most proud of being a wife and mother.
Roberts, 39, was named as this year's recipient in July. She won the best actress Oscar in 2001 for her role in Steven Soderbergh's Erin Brockovich.
Roberts said she came along at the right time to make it in the film business.
"I think I came along at a kinder time in the business... you could really cultivate your work a little more gently," she told the audience at a benefit dinner in Beverly Hills.
Other stars in attendance included Tom Hanks, Natalie Portman and Sally Field.
"Everybody loves Julia Roberts. Everybody, everybody, everybody," said Hanks, who stars with Roberts in upcoming Afghanistan war drama Charlie Wilson's War.
Actors, directors and writers have been honoured at the ceremony every year since its inception in 1986.
American Cinematheque uses the event to raise money to help support aspiring film-makers.
Previous recipients include Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, Martin Scorsese and Nicole Kidman.
Roberts presented last year's winner, George Clooney, with his award.
She has been one of the most popular actresses in Hollywood since her 1988 breakthrough in Mystic Pizza.
Her other screen credits include Steel Magnolias and Pretty Woman.