The Academy board of governors have voted to present honourary Oscars to publicist Marvin Levy, composer Lalo Schifrin and actress Cicely Tyson, and the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award to producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall.
The three Oscar statuettes and Thalberg Award will be presented at the Academy’s 10th Annual Governors Awards on November 18 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood.
“Choosing the honorees for its awards each year is the happiest of all the Board of Governors’ work,” said Academy president John Bailey. “And this year, its selection of five iconic artists was made with universal acclaim by the Academy’s 54 spirited governors.”
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.”
Levy becomes the first publicist to receive an honorary Oscar and 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 on 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., Back To The Future, Saving Private Ryan, 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, and TV series Mission: Impossible. He has earned six Oscar nominations.
Raised in Harlem, Tyson began her career as a model and a theatre 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 earned an Oscar nod for her leading performance in Sounder. Other notable film credits include The River Niger, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Help, and Last Flag Flying.
The Kennedy/Marshall producing partnership, formed in 1991, has generated best Picture nominations for The Sixth Sense, Seabiscuit, Munich, and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.
Credits include Congo, all five Jason Bourne films, and The Diving Bell And The Butterfly. The duo co-founded Amblin Productions with Steven Spielberg, sharing a best picture nomination for The Color Purple.
Marshall received a best picture nomination for Raiders Of The Lost Ark, while Kennedy was nominated in the same category for E.T., War Horse, and Lincoln. Kennedy is the first woman to receive the Thalberg Award.
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.”