Film Historian Kevin Brownlow to Receive Robert Osborne Award

Emma Hardy/Courtesy of TCM
Kevin Brownlow

The honor, named in honor of the late TCM host, will be presented April 13 at the TCM Classic Film Festival.

Film historian and preservationist Kevin Brownlow will be presented with the second annual Robert Osborne Award, recognizing an individual who has helped keep the cultural heritage of classic film alive, at the 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood. The award will be presented April 13 at a screening of It Happened Here, which Brownlow directed. The first Robert Osborne Award, named in honor of the late TCM host and anchor, was given to Martin Scorsese at the 2018 festival.

Brownlow, who was awarded an honorary Oscar in 2011, has devoted himself to the restoration of classic movies from the silent film era. He founded Photoplay Productions to produce documentaries on film and revive such silent classics as A Woman of Affairs (1928), Sunrise (1927) and Napoleon (1927). The 1980 premiere of the restored version of Napoleon brought Brownlow honors from the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Board of Review, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the London Critics Circle. 

“In a career spanning more than seven decades, Kevin has played an instrumental role in documenting the history of silent film and preserving and restoring more than 50 silent films,” Ben Mankiewicz, TCM primetime anchor and official host of the TCM Classic Film Festival, said Thursday in a statement. “Kevin is truly the embodiment of what the Robert Osborne award signifies, helping ensure that classic film will continue to be experienced as it was meant to be seen for years to come.”

Added TCM senior vp programming Charles Tabesh: “Kevin Brownlow has been a friend to TCM since the network was founded, and his work to preserve classic film history for future generations is a cornerstone of what TCM and the Robert Osborne Award represent. We have shown Kevin’s documentaries and restorations on air many times before, but to be able to honor him at the TCM Classic Film Festival feels like the perfect way to honor a man who has worked tirelessly to ensure the legacy of classic film lives on.”

The festival is set to run April 11-14 at venues in Hollywood.