Cicely Tyson and Kathleen Kennedy to Receive Honorary Oscars

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Actor Cicely Tyson and producer Kathleen Kennedy will make overdue history when they receive their Honorary Oscars this fall.

The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently voted to present Honorary Awards to publicist Marvin Levy, composer Lalo Schifrin and Tyson. In addition, Kennedy and her husband and fellow producer Frank Marshall will receive the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award.

The three Oscar statuettes and Thalberg Award will be presented at the Academy’s 10th Annual Governors Awards on Sunday, November 18, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles.

As <a href=”https://people.com/movies/cicely-tyson-honorary-oscar-at-age-93/” target=”_blank”>People.com</a> reported, Tyson will make history at the Governors Awards as the first black woman to receive an Honorary Oscar.

Raised in Harlem, Tyson began her career as a model and a theater actress, appearing both on Broadway and off-Broadway.  After playing small roles in feature films and television, she was cast as Portia in “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” in 1968.  Four years later, she received an Academy Award nomination for her leading performance in “Sounder.”  Her other notable film credits include “The River Niger,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” “The Help,” “Alex Cross” and “Last Flag Flying.”

Tyson, 93, has previously won a Tony, two Emmys and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, according to People.com.

The Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, is 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,” according to a news release. The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial 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.”

One of the most successful and respected producers and executives working in the film industry today, Kennedy, 65, will be the first woman to receive the Thalberg Award, according to the news release from The Academy.

The Kennedy/Marshall producing partnership, formed in 1991, has generated Best Picture nominations for “The Sixth Sense” (1999), “Seabiscuit” (2003), “Munich” (2005) and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (2008).  Kennedy/Marshall Company productions also include “Congo,” all five “Bourne” films, and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.”  Prior to forming Kennedy/Marshall, the duo co-founded Amblin Productions with Steven Spielberg, sharing a Best Picture nomination for “The Color Purple” (1985).  Additionally, Marshall received a Best Picture nomination for “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981), while Kennedy was nominated in the same category for “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982), “War Horse” (2011) and “Lincoln” (2012).

An eight-time Academy Award nominee, Kennedy has been the president of Lucasfilm since The Walt Disney Company acquired the company in 2012.

As for the other honorees, Levy will be the first publicist to receive an Honorary Oscar. He began his career in publicity working for MGM in New York City before joining Columbia Pictures in Hollywood, where he guided the advertising for films including “The Deep” and “Kramer vs. Kramer.”  His work for the 1977 film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” marked the beginning of a four-decade-long partnership with Steven Spielberg. Levy has held positions at Amblin Entertainment, DreamWorks Studios and Amblin Partners, and has worked on publicity campaigns for such films as “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial,” “Back to the Future,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “American Beauty,” “Gladiator” and “Lincoln.”

Born and raised in Argentina, Schifrin studied classical music and jazz in France before beginning to compose for film in Buenos Aires in the mid-1950s.  He has written scores for more than 100 films, including “The Cincinnati Kid,” “Bullitt,” “Dirty Harry,” “Enter the Dragon” and “Rush Hour.” His memorable theme for the television series “Mission: Impossible” has been a hallmark of the recent film series.  He has received six Oscar nominations, for the original scores for “Cool Hand Luke” (1967), “The Fox” (1968), “Voyage of the Damned” (1976) and “The Amityville Horror” (1979), the original song “People Alone” from “The Competition” (1980) and the adaptation score for “The Sting II” (1983).

-BAM

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