Elizabeth Banks Becomes First Female Director to Get Will Rogers' Pioneer Honor

The filmmaker-actress will be feted Sept. 25 in Los Angeles.

Filmmaker-actress Elizabeth Banks will receive the 2019 Pioneer of the Year award, becoming the first female director to be feted with the honor, the Will Rogers Motion Pictures Pioneers Foundation announced Thursday.

Only a handful of women have been named Pioneer of the Year in recent years. They include Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, Sherry Lansing and Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

Banks made her feature directorial debut with Pitch Perfect 2, a box office hit that grossed $287 million globally, then the highest showing ever for a first-time director. She's currently prepping Charlie's Angels, which hits theaters Nov. 1. She directs, produces and co-stars, in addition to co-writing.

She's also an advocate for women and supports a number of charitable organizations, such as Time's Up and Women's March Los Angeles, as well as a number of human rights and health issues.

The Pioneer of the Year award recognizes a respected member of the motion picture community for their leadership, service and commitment to philanthropy.

Past recipients include Tom Cruise, Jim Gianopulos, Alan Horn and Jeffrey Katzenberg. (Cruise was only the second actor to receive the Pioneer of the Year award after the late Bob Hope in 1980.)

Proceeds from the Sept. 25 Pioneer ceremony at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles will benefit the Pioneers Assistance Fund (PAF), a charity that helps movie industry veterans who are encountering an illness, injury or life-changing event.

In recent years, the awards banquet has been held in Las Vegas in conjunction with CinemaCon. Now, it is moving back to L.A.