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Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall to receive Irving G. Thalberg Award

Kathleen Kennedy may now be best known as the woman bringing us a steady stream of STAR WARS movies, but her resume goes back decades and includes movies as iconic as they are lucrative. Bringing us many of these alongside husband Frank Marshall, the duo will receive this year’s Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, making them the first married couple to win the award, and Kennedy the first woman.

The Academy board voted on Tuesday for this year's Governors Awards, with The Thalberg award given to producers “whose body of work reflects a consistently high quality of motion picture production,” and just looking at Kennedy and Marshall's filmographies offers a cavalcade of movies that meet that standard. Teaming with Steven Spielberg to co-found Amblin Entertainment in 1981, and later Kennedy/Marshall in 1991, the producing team shares Oscar nominations for THE COLOR PURPLE, THE SIXTH SENSE, SEABISCUIT and THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON. Marshall also has a nomination for RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, while Kennedy does for E.T.: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, WAR HORSE and LINCOLN (all shared with Spielberg). 

Since her most recent Oscar nomination for LINCOLN, Kennedy was made the president of Lucasfilm and has worked with Disney to reignite the STAR WARS franchise. Since 2015 she’s produced all the new movies, including THE FORCE AWAKENS, ROGUE ONE, SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY and THE LAST JEDI. Together these movies have amassed over $4.5 billion worldwide, solidifying her as one of the most successful producers ever (third most, to be precise).

Other winners of this year’s honorary Oscars include publicist Marvin Levy (the first publicist to win an Oscar), composer Lalo Schifrin, and Oscar-nominated actress Cicely Tyson. Schifrin has been nominated for several Oscars in the past for scoring movies like COOL HAND LUKE, THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, VOYAGE OF THE DAMMED and THE FOX, with the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE theme perhaps being his most recognizable work. As for Tyson, she’s been in the business for over 50 years, nominated for an Oscar in 1973 for THE SOUNDER, and recently had roles in movies like DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN, THE HELP, and LAST FLAG FLYING.

The Governors Awards will be held November 18.

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