The award will be presented to Spielberg at a dinner at the Hilton Chicago on March 19. Sally Field, who portrayed Mary Todd Lincoln in Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” will make the presentation.
“We are pleased to present this year’s Lincoln Leadership Prize to Steven Spielberg, who brings socially relevant issues to the forefront of our minds through the medium of film,” said Wayne W. Whalen, chairman of the foundation. “Additionally, his long-time commitment to philanthropic endeavors exemplifies President Lincoln’s conscience and spirit, making him truly deserving of this award.”
Spielberg, a partner at DreamWorks Studios, directed “Lincoln,” which received 12 Academy Award nominations and won Oscars for Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor and Best Production Design. He also established The Righteous Persons Foundation and the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, now the USC Shoah Foundation, and is chairman emeritus of the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
“This is an extraordinary honor,” Spielberg said in statement. “For me, Lincoln’s unprecedented commitment to the cause of democracy is one of the most important examples of leadership our nation has ever seen. I am humbled to receive an award that embodies both his legacy and the profound contributions he made to this country.”
The Lincoln Leadership Prize has been awarded since 2006. Previous honorees include President Bill Clinton, former Polish President Lech Walesa, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Astronaut James A. Lovell Jr. and the late journalist Tim Russert.