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The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted Tuesday night to present honorary Oscars to actress Cicely Tyson, composer Lalo Schifrin and veteran publicist Marvin Levy at the Academy’s 10th annual Governors Awards, which is set to take place Nov. 18 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood and Highland Center.
The board also voted to present its Irving G. Thalberg Award to Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall. The Thalberg Award is given to producers “whose body of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion picture production.” It was last given to Francis Ford Coppola in 2010.
Tyson, who was nominated for an Academy Award as best lead actress in 1973’s Sounder, has starred in such films as The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, The River Niger, Fried Green Tomatoes, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, The Help, Alex Cross and Last Flag Flying.
A six-time Oscar nominee for films ranging from Cool Hand Luke to The Sting II, Schifrin was born and raised in Argentina and studied classical music and jazz in France before he began composing for film in Buenos Aires in the mid-1950s. He has written scores for more than 100 motion pictures and created the enduring Mission: Impossible theme. His credits include Bullitt, Dirty Harry, Voyage of the Damned, The Amityville Horror and Rush Hour.
Levy, who began his career working for MGM in New York before moving to Hollywood, where he joined Columbia Pictures and worked on such films as The Deep and Kramer vs. Kramer, is the first publicist to be awarded an honorary Oscar. Levy is Steven Spielberg’s longtime representative, having first worked with the director on 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Since then, he has held positions at Amblin Entertainment, DreamWorks Studios and Amblin Partners and has worked on such films as E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, American Beauty, Gladiator and Lincoln.
Like Levy, Kennedy and Marshall have also enjoyed a long association with Spielberg. Marshall received a best picture Oscar nomination for Raiders of the Lost Ark, while Kennedy, the first woman to receive the Thalberg Award, was nominated in the same category for E.T., War Horse and Lincoln. The two producers, who are also husband and wife, co-founded Amblin Productions with Spielberg and in 1991 went on to form their own production company, Kennedy/Marshall, which has had a hand in producing such best picture Oscar nominees as The Sixth Sense, Seabiscuit, Munich and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Kennedy currently serves as president of Lucasfilm, overseeing the Star Wars movies, while Marshall most recently produced Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom as well as the late Orson Welles’ 40-years-in-the-making The Other Side of the Wind.
In announcing the honors, Academy president John Bailey said, “Choosing the honorees for its awards each year is the happiest of all the board of governors’ work. And this year, its selection of five iconic artists was made with universal acclaim by the Academy’s 54 spirited governors.”
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