The honor is annually bestowed on “an extraordinary artist in the entertainment industry who is fully engaged in his or her work and is committed to making a significant contribution to the art of the motion pictures.” Since its inception in 1986, only four other women have received the award: Bette Midler in 1987, Jodie Foster in 1999, Nicole Kidman in 2003 and Julia Roberts in 2007.
“The American Cinematheque is extremely pleased to honor Reese Witherspoon as the 29th recipient of the American Cinematheque award at our celebration this year,” said Rick Nicita, American Cinematheque chairman. “Reese Witherspoon’s career is a perfect example of an actress flourishing in today’s world. She achieved commercial success early in comedies like ‘Election,’ ‘Legally Blonde’ and ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and then added major critical success to her resume with movies such as ‘Walk the Line,’ for which she received the Academy Award for best actress. She has refused to be limited to only certain types of roles and has continued to impress with her varied choices, ranging from smaller roles in dramas such as ‘Mud’ to a tour-de-force, Oscar nominated performance last year in ‘Wild.’ She is an active and successful movie producer who is moving her career forward both behind and in front of the camera. The most appropriate role for Reese Witherspoon today is role model.”
Witherspoon will accept the award at a gala dinner on October 30.