Martin Scorsese to Get Inaugural Robert Osborne Award

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Martin Scorsese, Robert Osborne

The Oscar-winning director and film preservationist will be saluted on opening night at the TCM Classic Film Festival.

Martin Scorsese will receive the inaugural Robert Osborne Award in recognition of his work as a film preservationist and impassioned movie fan next month at the ninth annual TCM Classic Film Festival.

The Robert Osborne Award, named for the late TCM host and Hollywood Reporter columnist, will be given out annually at the event to someone "whose work has helped keep the cultural heritage of classic films alive and thriving for generations to come," it was announced Thursday.

Scorsese, 75, with 12 Oscar nominations and a directing win for The Departed (2006), established in 1990 The Film Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history by working in partnership with archives and studios.

It has restored more than 800 films, and its World Cinema Project has rescued 31 films from 21 countries. The foundation's free educational curriculum, "The Story of Movies," teaches youngsters about the language and history of film.

"I am truly honored to be the first recipient of the Robert Osborne Award," Scorsese said in a statement. "I started The Film Foundation 28 years ago in order to preserve and share cinema's history with audiences of the present and the future. Bob and TCM have always been trusted allies in this mission.

"I always loved watching Bob's introductions and interviews on TCM because you could immediately feel that this was someone who knew movie history, who wanted to share that knowledge and pass it on and — most importantly — who truly loved movies. Bob was a true believer in the cinema, so to receive this award in his name means a great deal to me."

The award will be presented April 26 during opening night of the four-day TCM fest in Hollywood.

The genial Osborne, who died a year ago at age 84, served as the primetime host and anchor of TCM for more than 22 years, introducing the first film that network ever aired, Gone With the Wind, on April 14, 1994.

He also penned THR's must-read Rambling Reporter column from April 1983 until he left the publication in June 2009.

Osborne began his career as an actor, was mentored by the legendary comedienne Lucille Ball and became the official biographer of Oscar thanks to a series of books he wrote about the Academy Awards.

"Robert was the cornerstone of TCM, and his contributions were fundamental in shaping the network into what it is today," TCM general manager Jennifer Dorian said. "Through the creation of the Robert Osborne Award, we acknowledge how much he meant to TCM and the impact he had on preserving the love of classic film."