×

Tom Cruise Becomes First Actor to Receive Pioneer of the Year Award

A profoundly grateful Tom Cruise received the pioneer of the year award from the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation — the first actor to be so honored.

Cruise was feted Wednesday night on the third day of Cinemacon, the National Association of Theater Owners’ annual convention in Las Vegas. The pioneer of the year award is given to a member of the motion picture community to honor professional leadership, service, and commitment to philanthropy.

“I grew up going to the movies, and I wanted to make movies since I was 4,” Cruise said in his acceptance speech. “I’m very proud to be part of this family. We take care of our own, that’s what families do. I love what I do, and I will cherish this beautiful award.”

Cruise spent most of the 15-minute speech offering thanks. He recalled one of the early instances of that came when Stanley Jaffe and Harold Becker expanded his role in the 1981 drama “Taps.”

“I thought, ‘If I can do this for the rest of my life, I will be so grateful,'” he said.

Popular on Variety

The dinner event was held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, a few hours after Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie had shown footage and discussed the stunts in the upcoming “Mission: Impossible — Fallout.”

McQuarrie presented Cruise with the award after James Corden had emceed the event, which included a  performance by “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom, Jr.  A career highlight reel generated a standing ovation.

Corden and Cruise teamed on a video takeoff of Cruise’s iconic scenes such as the dance in “Risky Business” and the skyscraper climbing and plane take off stunts in “Mission: Impossible” movies. Corden said the reason why Cruise does his own stunts: “They can’t find a stunt double who’s handsome enough.”

The event raised a CinemaCon record of more than $1.5 million for the benefit of the Pioneers Assistance Fund.

Past pioneer of the year honorees include Dick Cook, Cecil B. DeMille, Michael D. Eisner, Jim Gianopulos, Alan Horn, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Donna Langley, Sherry Lansing, Frank G. Mancuso, Sumner Redstone, Terry Semel, Tom Sherak, Jack Valenti, Jack Warner, Darryl F. Zanuck, and last year’s honoree, Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

More Film

  • William Bogert Dead: 'Small Wonder' Actor

    William Bogert, Who Appeared in 'War Games,' 'Small Wonder,' Dies at 83

    TV, film and theater actor William Bogert, who appeared in a recurring role on 1980s sitcom “Small Wonder” and in films such as “War Games,” died Jan. 12 in New York. He was 83. On “Small Wonder,” which ran from 1985 to 1989, Bogert played Brandon Brindle, the Lawsons’ neighbor and Harriet’s father who became [...]

  • 1917 Movie

    Why '1917' Is the Last Film That Should Be Winning the Oscar (Column)

    There’s a feeling I always get at the end of a long Oscar night when the movie that won isn’t a terrible choice, but it’s the safe, blah, MOR predictable choice, the one that conforms to the dullest conventional wisdom about the kinds of movies Oscar voters prefer, because in the core of their being [...]

  • Civil Rights Drama 'Praying for Sheetrock'

    Civil Rights Drama 'Praying for Sheetrock' in the Works as Feature Film (EXCLUSIVE)

    Enderby Entertainment is developing a feature film based on Melissa Fay Greene’s civil rights drama “Praying for Sheetrock,” Variety has learned exclusively. The non-fiction book, published in 1991, was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, Georgia Historical Society Bell Award and the ACLU National Civil [...]

  • Jared Harris arrives at the 26th

    No, Jared Harris is Not Playing Doctor Octopus in Marvel's 'Morbius'

    The first-ever trailer for Marvel and Sony’s next Spider-man spinoff “Morbius” left comic book fans reeling with theories. While the plight of the main character, Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) – a scientist dying of a rare blood disease who accidentally turns himself into a vampire – seemed ripped right out of the comics, the [...]

  • SAG Awards 2020: What You Didn't

    SAG Awards 2020: From Charlize Theron to 'Parasite,' What You Didn't See on TV

    Brad Pitt made a crack about his marriages. Robert De Niro got political. And Jennifer Aniston talked about appearing in a commercial for Bob’s Big Boy. Those were just some of thing that happened on stage at the SAG Awards that were broadcast on TNT/TBS on Sunday night. However, Variety was inside the Shrine Auditorium [...]

  • Will Smith and Martin Lawrence star

    'Bad Boys for Life' Triumphs on MLK Weekend With $73 Million Launch

    “Bad Boys for Life” has given a jolt to the North American box office, blasting past forecasts with a $73.4 million opening at 3,775 sites over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. The third iteration of the Will Smith-Martin Lawrence action comedy franchise will finish the Friday-Monday as Sony Pictures’ biggest R-rated opening ever [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content