Marvel's Kevin Feige, Jon Favreau Honored at 45th Saturn Awards

Jon Favreau - Saturn Awards - Getty - H 2019

The mega-franchise took home many of the night's prizes, including all three honorary awards.

At the 45th annual Saturn Awards on Friday night, Marvel reigned supreme.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige took home the night’s top honor, the inaugural Stan Lee World Builder Award, for his creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which spans 23 films over 11 years. Feige, who did not attend the ceremony but accepted via video message, credited Lee himself for the success of the franchise because he put "humanity and kindness" into every project.

Other Marvel veterans, including director Jon Favreau (The Lion King) and executive vp and head of Marvel Television Jeph Loeb, also received top prizes.

While the MCU is now smashing box-office records, Favreau — who kicked off the franchise with Iron Man in 2008 — said he remembers when superhero movies weren’t always considered cool.

"Now, we’re part of the mainstream, and horror, and superheroes, and sci-fi, that has become part of what keeps the film business going, but way back when I was growing up, there was a small group in the lunchroom that liked that kind of stuff," said Favreau, who received the Visionary Award.

Loeb, who received the Dan Curtis Legacy Award for bringing Marvel’s superhero stories to life on the small screen, credited his dad for instilling a passion for storytelling in him at a young age. He also shared a similar sentiment with many award recipients, praising the attendees and viewers for their dedication to genre stories.

"They say in this business, 'Don’t meet your heroes. You’ll find out they’re just mortals,'" said Loeb. "But I have met them, and they’re in this room, and they’re in my office and on my sets every day. And all of you are even greater than I ever imagined."

The Marvel mega-franchise earned several other wins, including best comic-to-motion picture release for Avengers: Endgame; best supporting actor for Josh Brolin in Avengers: Infinity War; best performance by a younger actor for Spider-Man: Far From Home star Tom Holland; and best supporting actress for Holland's co-star Zendaya.

The ceremony, hosted by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films, was held at the Avalon Hollywood to celebrate the year’s best in genre film and television, especially those that often go unrecognized by traditional awards shows.

Though genre entertainment had a breakthrough moment last year in traditional awards landscapes — with recognition for films like Marvel’s Black Panther, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water and Jordan Peele’s Get Out — the Saturn Awards continue to celebrate these projects regardless of how they’re faring elsewhere.

Jamie Lee Curtis, who was tapped as best actress in a film for her reprisal of Laurie Strode in last year's Halloween, said she thinks genre films just attract a different audience than those who are voting for conventional awards shows.

"The main voting block for the mainstream awards and audiences are probably not the audiences that frequent genre movies," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "It’s a different kettle of fish, and I’m not sure those are the fish that vote."

The original "scream queen" was in her element as she giddily accepted her award and reminded the audience that, in addition to the ceremony being held on Friday the 13th, it was also a full moon — both of which received loud cheers.

"Whether I’m a fan of the genre or not is irrelevant, because the people who love it love it, and they love it with a vengeance and passion that is beautiful," Curtis said. "I am grateful for the creative life I have because of them."

On the television front, winning shows included The CW's Supergirl, HBO's Westworld and AMC's The Walking Dead.

Some of the biggest fans and names of genre entertainment filled the event with an energy that felt akin to a convention, rather than an awards ceremony. BB-8 roamed the red carpet, cosplayers posed for photos and the awards were interrupted by several panels debating topics like Black Mirror v. The Twilight Zone and Pennywise v. Freddy Kruger.

"We are a celebration of the greatest pop culture franchises and the greatest characters. At the heart of pop culture fandom is the love of character," Saturn Awards executive producer Justin Hochberg told THR, adding, "We love the characters, and we celebrate that."