Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs was feted by the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation on Wednesday. She received the Pioneer of the Year award with the presentation made during CinemaCon in Las Vegas.
Among those paying tribute to the president of the motion picture academy was one of the 51 members of the board of governors, Steven Spielberg. He appeared in a tribute film and noted that none of Issacs’ 30 predecessors in the job had “faced what Cheryl has faced in her years.” He wryly noted that the job description is to “take the blame for a lot of things they’re not responsible for, and rarely get credit for the things that they are.” Also appearing on film were Oscar winners Jeff Bridges, Viola Davis, Jennifer Hudson and Emma Stone as well as nominees Terrence Howard and Dev Patel.
Making the presentation to Issacs was “Selma” leading man David Oyelowo, who spoke of his introduction to Issacs and her part in pushing for diversity in the membership of the academy. “She helps expand the conversation, and helps others expand their point of view.”
In accepting the honor, Issacs referenced the good work of the foundation, which offers final assistance to those who work in entertainment, and its namesake. “This award honors the true legacy of Will Rogers. Sometimes you have to go out on a limb,” Isaacs said. ‘That’s where the fruit is.”