The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation honored renowned filmmaker Steven Spielberg with its Lincoln Leadership Prize on Wednesday, March 19th.
This annual award honors outstanding individuals for a lifetime of service in the spirit of the nation’s 16th president, and who like Abraham Lincoln, manifest great strength of character, individual conscience and an unwavering commitment to the defining principles of democracy.
Nearly 700 civic, philanthropic and business leaders gathered at the event to celebrate Spielberg’s achievement and to support the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
“This annual event keeps growing because of the generosity of so many who wish to preserve and advance Abraham Lincoln’s rich legacy,” said Carla Knorowski, CEO of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.
One of the entertainment industry’s most successful and influential filmmakers, Spielberg is a three-time Academy Award winner. In 2012, Spielberg directed “Lincoln,” which garnered 12 Academy Award nominations winning two Oscars, including Daniel Day-Lewis’ third Oscar for Best Actor playing the iconic president, as well as Best Production Design.
Mr. Spielberg also devotes his time and resources to many philanthropic causes, having established The Righteous Persons Foundation, as well as the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, now the USC Shoah Foundation. He is also Chairman Emeritus of the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
“The Lincoln Leadership Prize is a most humbling honor, particularly when it is conferred by the Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation,” said Steven Spielberg. “I am grateful for the opportunity tonight to join the list of distinguished past honorees in adding my words of appreciation for what Lincoln did for our country and the world.”
The award will be presented by two-time Academy Award and three-time Emmy Award winner Sally Field. Field starred in Spielberg’s “Lincoln” in a widely praised portrayal of Mary Todd Lincoln, which brought her Best Supporting Actress nominations for the Academy Award, the Golden Globe and the BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild awards.
Field was also recently inducted into the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an honorary society and leading center for independent U.S. policy research, in 2013.
“It is a tremendous honor for me to present the 2014 Lincoln Leadership Award to my friend and colleague Steven Spielberg,” said Field.
The Lincoln Leadership Prize has been awarded since 2006. Previous honorees include the 42nd President of the United States, President Bill Clinton, former Polish President Lech Walesa, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the late television journalist Tim Russert.