Who will receive the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors?

Recipients for the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors will be announced shortly after Labor Day. Which famous entertainers are most likely to be included in this annual celebration of the arts? The five chosen will be celebrated at the White House and with a special concert at the Kennedy Center in early December. The honorees are always an eclectic group covering a variety of disciplines, including film, television, popular music, theatre, dance, and/or the fine arts.

Last year, various advocacy groups pointed out that only two Hispanics — Placido Domingo (2000) and Chita Rivera (2002) — numbered among the 185 people feted to date. The Kennedy Centers Honors is expanding the selection process by welcoming suggestions from the public.

Rivera is part of a new committee that will winnow down the list of potential recipients from 20 to 10. Joining her are 2011 honoree Yo Yo Ma; opera singer Harolyn Blackwell and ballet dancer Damian Woetzel who sit on the Artist Committee; and board members Cappy McGarr and Elaine Wynn. The Artist Committee, which comes up with the original list of 20, has been expanded as well to ensure the broadest of representation. And the public can petition the committee with their choices. 

However, even with these new mechanisms in place, the five honorees still will be determined by the executive committee of the Kennedy Center board of trustees who will decide based on the recommendations of the Center chair, president and the producers of the kudocast who willl cull from this list of 10 possibilities. 

Who are strongest possibilities among the Latino community to make the cut? EGOT winner Rita Moreno would be worthy, but since she receives the Screen Actors Guild life achievement award the following month, the Kennedy Center might delay her to another year. Rock guitarist Carlos Santana and jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval are very likely. Actor Ruben Blades and Edward James Olmos, singer Gloria Estefan, and playwright Luis Valdez are also possible.

Beyond this, possible film stars to be chosen include Jeff BridgesEllen BurstynMichael CaineGlenn CloseBilly CrystalDoris DayMichael DouglasRobert DuvallSally FieldJane FondaHarrison FordWhoopi GoldbergGene HackmanTom HanksDiane KeatonJessica LangeJerry LewisSophia LorenShirley MacLainePeter O’TooleAl PacinoMickey RooneyDenzel Washington, and Robin Williams.

Among film directors in the running are Woody AllenFrancis Ford CoppolaStanley DonenRon HowardNorman Jewison, and George Lucas.

TV performers in contention include Alan AldaSid CaesarJames GarnerMary Tyler MooreBob NewhartDick Van Dyke, and Betty White.

From the theatre and fine arts, Martina ArroyoCarol ChanningHarvey FiersteinRenee FlemingCynthia GregoryHal HolbrookGarrison KeillorTony KushnerPatti LuPoneDavid MametBernadette PetersChristopher PlummerTim RiceElaine StritchMichael Tilson ThomasLily TomlinTommy Tune, and Pinchas Zukerman.

Rockers under consideration might be CherEric ClaptonGlenn Frey and Don HenleyBarry GibbMick JaggerBilly JoelJerry Lee LewisVan MorrisonPrinceBonnie RaittRod StewartJames TaylorU2, and Neil Young.

Pop and R&B stars could be Burt BacharachJoan BaezAl GreenTom JonesCarole KingGladys KnightPatti LaBelleBarry ManilowJohnny MathisBette MidlerJoni MitchellLionel RichieFrankie Valli, and Dionne Warwick.

For country artists, possibilities are Garth BrooksGlen CampbellVince GillEmmylou HarrisReba McEntireKenny Rogers, and George Strait.

Among all other types of music, consider Shirley CaesarOrnette ColemanAndrae CrouchChick CoreaHerbie HancockAlan MenkenLiza MinnelliEnnio MorriconeRandy Newman, and Allen Toussaint.

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The 2012 ceremony celebrated the careers of bluesman Buddy Guy, film actor Dustin Hoffman, rockers Led Zeppelin, talk show host David Letterman, and ballet star Natalia Makarova. The program is a strong frontrunner to win a fifth straight Emmy as Best Variety Special next month.

Use our easy drag-and-drop menu below to make your predictions for Variety Special.

30 thoughts on “Who will receive the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors?

  1. Who will receive a 2013 Kennedy Center Honors:Jerry Lewis,Rita Moreno,Al Pacino,James Taylor and Fredrica Von Strade or Shirley Caesar,Billy Joel,George Lucas,Rita Moreno,Bob Newhart.I think in the KCH commitee their will probably pick a entire different selection then I or any else might suggest.

  2. The legendary Johnny Mathis should receive this honour….with a career spanning over five decades, and still performing to sell-out audiences, this wonderful singer deserves every accolade. He truly is a superstar.

  3. My vote goes to Johnny Mathis. An outstanding and wonderful singer, a true gentleman still singing as good as ever, Truly deserves this honour.

  4. This years Kennedy Center Honors should go to legendary singer Johnny Mathis.His God given voice has touched many hearts all over the world for the past 57 years. It is time to honor him for the many years of bringing so much joy to so many of us!

  5. It’s a total joke that the Rolling Stones haven’t been honored yet.

    Also, re: music, Fleetwood Mac > The Eagles. I’d take Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham as pair of honorees over Don Henley and Glenn Frey. In fact, I don’t think a female singer has been honored in a while. You have to go back to 2008 with Barbra Streisand. But Nicks, unlike many of the females singers, is also a singular songwriter.

    For acting, Gene Hackman is a sore sore omission among winners. How he hasn’t been honored yet blows the mind. My guess is he may have refused…when was the last time he made a public appearance? Michael Caine should be on your list. Also, Harrison Ford will surely be honored in the next few years…underrated actor (even by Steven Spielberg, who calls Hanks and Day-Lewis the greatest actors he’s ever worked with), incredible star power. I hate when Samuel L. Jackson is mentioned as a bigger box office star than Ford due to his total grosses—how many times has he been the lead in a film? Ford owned the 80s and 90s.

    Woody Allen would be a nice choice, but who knows if he’ll show up. My guess is no. For directors, Francis Ford Coppola would be fantastic. No director in my book has had a stronger decade than Coppola in the 1970s: four classics, arguable masterpieces in The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather Part II, and Apocalypse Now. No one comes close to that stretch of films.

  6. My vote goes to the most romantic singer with a voice like velvet Johnny Mathis.He certainly deserves to be recognised in the Kennedy Center Honors for his outstanding career in which he is still performing after 57years.A true professional & A true gentleman.

  7. Totally agree with the Johnny Mathis comments here. Id also like to see Liza Minnelli, Bob Newhart, Glenn Close, and George Lucas. All deserving, with dynamic and varied art forms represented.

  8. My vote is for Johnny Mathis, who has delighted listeners with his “Voice of Romance” for 57 years. Mr. Mathis continues to attract sell-out crowds all over the world.

  9. Lee Grant would be inspired. It would be a chance to acknowledge not only her acting achievement but also her 12 year exile while on the blacklist

  10. My vote goes to the lovely Johnny Mathis, a true gentleman and wonderful,singer who Has wowed the audiences for over fifty years, he totally deserves this honour.

  11. I don’t like the idea of searching for a latino to honor…as a matter of fact it’s pretty silly for the Kennedy center to announce the fact they are searching for ways to widen the selection process. Widen it sure go ahead, but don’t talk about it!!! It cheapens the whole thing to me. The people who get these honors should not be considered because of ethnic background or race!!!

  12. Another KCH change update:Shirley Caesar,Jerry Lewis,Rita Moreno,Al Pacino,James Taylor.Should a memorable evening.

  13. The only two people I will always considered more deserving of this award are:Jerry Lewis and Al Pacino, PERIOD.

  14. Let’s get a little realistic here,the KCH committee will select a whole entirely different group of very talented people than the ones either I or any one selects like last year with David Letterman and Led Zeppelin.I hope this year they a little better.

  15. LAST KCH UPDATE:CAROLE KING,JERRY LEWIS,RITA MORENO,AL PACINO and PINCUS ZUCKERMAN DESERVE TO BE HONORED.MAYBE BURT BACHARACH,HARRISON FORD,GLADYS KNIGHT,BOB NEWHART and FREDRICA VON STRADE.EITHER WAY THAT WILL BE ONE HELL OF A COLLECTIVE GROUP OF LEGENDS AND ONE EQUALLY ONE HELL OF A NIGHT.

  16. Olivia DeHavilland, Fats Domino, Sid Ceasar, Mickey Rooney, and Stanley Donen would be my choices to catch up on those long overdue. It won’t happen, however. The Kennedy Center will choose more head scratchers this year once again, I’m sure.

  17. REALLY LAST KCH UPDATE:HARRISON FORD, CAROLE KING,BOB NEWHART,CARLOS SANTANA AND PINCUS ZUCKERMAN.THIS IS MY VERY FINAL PICKS.

  18. DUE TO THE HEALTH CONDITIONS OF JERRY JEWIS AND DORIS DAY, THEY WON’T BE CHOSEN BECAUSE DAY DOES NOT APPEAR IN PUBLIC AND DOES NOT WANT TO BE KNOWN AS DORIS DAY. JERRY LEWIS HAS TROUBOE WALKING. IN ORDER TO BE SELECTED. THE HONOREE HAS TO BE ABLE TO WALK AND BOT BE CONFINED TO A WHEELCHAIR. THAT’S WHY IRVING BERLIN , WHO ONLY WANTED TO BE HONORED WHEN HE HIT 100 YEARS OLD, WAS NOT CHOSEN, BECAUSE HE WAS IN A WHEELCHAIR FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE, DUE TO A SERIES OF STROKES.

  19. JERRY LEWIS WILL BE PICKED FOR THE CLASS OF 2013 KENNEDY CENTER HONORS.HE APPEARS FOR INTERVIEWS,NIGHTCLUB ENGAGEMENTS AND TV APPEARANCES,EVEN THOUGH HE IS NOT AS STEADY ON HIS FEET LIKE HE USED TO BE.SO HE IS STILL ELIGIBLE FOR THIS OR ANY HONOR GIVEN HIM.DORIS DAY’S PROBLEM IS THAT SHE’S AFRAID TO FLY.SHE’S ELIGIBLE TOO.

  20. I apologize for saying this is my last comment regarding the Kennedy Center Honors,but i have one VERY last list to announce :ROBERTA PETERS;BOB NEWHART;TOM HANKS;JAMES TAYLOR and RITA MORENO.Now this is going to be a really big show.

  21. To quote Barbara Streisand a KCH honoree
    ” There are some good singers, there are a
    few great singers, then there is Johnny Mathis”.

  22. Van Morrison, OBE (born George Ivan Morrison; 31 August 1945) is a Northern Irish singer-songwriter and musician. His live performances at their best are described as mystical and transcendental,[1][2] while some of his recordings, such as the studio albums Astral Weeks and Moondance and the live album It’s Too Late to Stop Now, are critically acclaimed.
    I believe that Van Morrison deserves to be amongst the next group of individuals that is a recipient of the Kennedy Honor.
    Known as “Van the Man” to his fans, Morrison started his professional career when, as a teenager in the late 1950s, he played a variety of instruments including guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone for various Irish showbands covering the popular hits of the day. He rose to prominence in the mid-1960s as the lead singer of the Northern Irish R&B band Them, with whom he recorded the garage band classic “Gloria”. His solo career began under the pop-hit oriented guidance of Bert Berns with the release of the hit single “Brown Eyed Girl” in 1967. After Berns’ death, Warner Bros. Records bought out his contract and allowed him three sessions to record Astral Weeks in 1968. Even though this album would gradually garner high praise, it was initially a poor seller; however, the next one, Moondance, established Morrison as a major artist, and throughout the 1970s he built on his reputation with a series of critically acclaimed albums and live performances. Morrison continues to record and tour, producing albums and live performances that sell well and are generally warmly received, sometimes collaborating with other artists, such as Georgie Fame and The Chieftains. In 2008 he performed Astral Weeks live for the first time since 1968.

    Much of Morrison’s music is structured around the conventions of soul music and R&B, such as the popular singles “Brown Eyed Girl”, “Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)”, “Domino” and “Wild Night”. An equal part of his catalogue consists of lengthy, loosely connected, spiritually inspired musical journeys that show the influence of Celtic tradition, jazz, and stream-of-consciousness narrative, such as Astral Weeks and lesser-known works such as Veedon Fleece and Common One. The two strains together are sometimes referred to as “Celtic Soul”.

    Morrison has received six Grammy Awards, the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

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