As decades-long admirers of all things Lucas, LFL, Spielberg and Amblin, there are few people in the movie business more worthy of awards than Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall. The Academy felt the same and on Sunday night, Kennedy and husband and production partner Frank Marshall received their Irving G. Thalberg Memorial awards. Kennedy is the first ever female recipient, and along with that amazing honour she has our sincere congratulations.
For while the event may be in its 10th year, and the honorary Oscar itself in its 60th, there was still room for a few firsts. Levy became the first member of the public relations branch of the film academy to win an honorary Oscar, while Kennedy became the first woman to win the prestigious Irving G. Thalberg Memorial award — an honor that she shared with her husband and partner Marshall.
The Thalberg award is given to creative producers in recognition of their high-quality body of work, and is infrequently given out. The last Thalberg award recipient was Francis Ford Coppola in 2010.
“I’m incredibly honored to be the first woman to receive this award,” Kennedy said to a standing ovation. “I’m not the first to deserve it and I’m 100 percent sure I won’t be the last.”
Spielberg told the audience about hiring Kennedy to be his secretary years ago, but quickly realized that she had more to offer than just taking notes.
“The breaker of glass ceilings wherever she sets her sights,” Spielberg said of Kennedy, who now runs Lucasfilm. “She went from taking notes to taking over.”
The director did, however, make his Amblin Entertainment co-founders blush by telling a story about discovering that the two were in a relationship when he caught them “making out on my couch.” Kennedy and Marshall have been married now for 32 years and have two daughters.