Though best known as an actor and director, Clint Eastwood is about to get another producing honor to go with his best picture Oscar for “Unforgiven.” The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will hand Eastwood the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award at this year’s Oscar ceremony on March 27.
This marks the first time the board of governors of the Academy has voted to give the prestigious award to someone who made his reputation as an actor. Eastwood is the 32nd recipient of the periodic award since it was instituted in 1937.
Previous Thalberg recipients include Darryl F. Zanuck, David O. Selznick, Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock, Mervyn LeRoy, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Lucas was the last person to receive the award, in 1991.
The award is voted to “creative producers whose bodies of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion picture production.”
Eastwood, who was unaware that the Academy was going to announce the award, could not be reached for comment.
The accolades for his career began in earnest two years ago when his “Unforgiven” honors also included the directing Oscar, the Directors Guild Award and recognition as director of the year by NATO/ShoWest in early 1993. Since then, he’s starred in “In the Line of Fire” and directed “A Perfect World” (starring with Kevin Costner). Eastwood also just finished directing and starring in “The Bridges of Madison County” for Warner Bros.
Through his Malpaso production company, located on the Warner Bros, lot for more than 25 years, Eastwood, 64, has produced more than 30 films.
“Eastwood is widely acknowledged to be a hands-on filmmaker even on those pictures for which he does not receive producer credit,” said AMPAS president Arthur Hiller. “He imparts his creative force in all aspects of his company’s films, from development through distribution.”
While his career started as an actor, getting recognition on the TV show “Rawhide,” Eastwood has carved an impressive place in the industry as a director and producer.
Among the films Eastwood has produced – many of which he starred in and directed – are “Unforgiven,” “White Hunter, Black Heart,” “Bird,” “Tightrope,” “Pale Rider,” “Sudden Impact,” “Firefox,” “Honkytonk Man” and “Heartbreak Ridge.”
His body of work is even larger, traversing a number of genres – from Westerns to comedies to action/thrillers – and including such films as “Play Misty for Me,” “High Plains Drifter,” “Bronco Billy,” “The Outlaw Josey Wales” and “The Gauntlet.”