Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy will be the first woman to ever receive the Irving G. Thalberg award this year, which is an honorary Academy Award for production achievement. Kennedy, along with her husband and producing partner Frank Marshall, are being honored because they have a "body of work" that "reflects a consistently high quality of motion picture production." The award was last given out in 2010, and George Lucas received it in 1991 for his work on the Star Wars franchise. The Irving G. Thalberg has only been given out 38 times in Academy history.
Kathleen Kennedy may be best known for the Star Wars franchise at present time, but she has been an industry heavyweight for decades. The Lucasfilm president has been involved in the making of 60-plus films to date, which have collectively earned over $15 billion at the box office. Kennedy and Frank Marshall co-founded Amblin Productions with Steven Spielberg in 1981, and her first production credit was on E.T. the Extra Terrestrial. Before that, she first worked with Spielberg on Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981 as an associate and Poltergeist in 1982 as an associate producer. Her movies have been nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award eight times over the years.
Kathleen Kennedy was previously a member of the Board of Governors, and members cannot earn honorary Oscars. However, it has been argued that Kennedy and Frank Marshall should have received the Irving G. Thalberg award in the past. The producing partners join the ranks of Walt Disney, Francis Ford Coppola, and Alfred Hitchcock as influencers who have also won the award. They will be honored on November 18th at the 10th Annual Governor's Awards.
The Star Wars franchise revved up again in 2015 with J.J. Abrams' The Force Awakens, which was overseen by Kathleen Kennedy and Disney. While some may argue about the quality of the new movies, they have, collectively, earned over $4 billion worldwide. Since the box office failure of Solo: A Star Wars Story, future spin-off films have been canceled, and there have been rumors that Kennedy will leave her post as president of Lucasfilm. That has yet to be confirmed, but Kennedy's impressive resume certainly speaks for itself.
At the end 2017, Kathleen Kennedy stated that she and Lucasfilm were talking about the next decade of Star Wars, which currently has a lot on its plate. Rian Johnson is currently writing his own trilogy after helming The Last Jedi, and Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are also mapping out their own series as well. Whatever the future holds, Kennedy helped bring Star Wars back, turning it into an even bigger box office juggernaut than anyone thought possible. For now, Kennedy is set to receive the Irving G. Thalberg Award and making history. Deadline was the first to report the news about Kathleen Kennedy receiving the Irving G. Thalberg Award.