Kathleen Kennedy to become first woman to receive the Academy's Thalberg Award

Mike Miller
Kathleen Kennedy to become first woman to receive the Academy's Thalberg Award

Prolific producer Kathleen Kennedy will be the first woman to receive the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Academy’s board of governors voted Tuesday night to present the honor to Kennedy and her producing partner, Frank Marshall (who is also her husband), at the 10th annual Governors Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18.

Additionally, publicist Marvin Levy, composer Lalo Schifrin, and actress Cicely Tyson will receive honorary Oscars for their work in the industry, the board voted.

“Choosing the honorees for its awards each year is the happiest of all the board of governors’ work,” Academy President John Bailey in a statement Wednesday. “And this year, its selection of five iconic artists was made with universal acclaim by the Academy’s 54 spirited governors.”

The honorary Oscars are given “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.” The Thalberg Award, a bust of the motion picture executive, is presented to creative producers “whose body of work reflects a consistently high quality of motion picture production.”

Kennedy and Marshall established the Kennedy/Marshall Company in 1991, generating Best Picture nominations for The Sixth Sense (1999), Seabiscuit (2003), Munich (2005), and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008). Other Kennedy/Marshall productions include Congo, all five Bourne films, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Before forming their own company, the duo cofounded Amblin Productions with Steven Spielberg and shared a Best Picture nomination for The Color Purple (1985). On her own, Kennedy was nominated in the same category for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), War Horse (2011), and Lincoln (2012).

She became the president of Lucasfilm in 2012, after Disney acquired the company for more than $4 billion, and has been involved in the making of more than 60 films, which have collectively grossed more than $15 billion worldwide.