Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

AFI LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

AFI Life Achievement Award small logo

The AFI Life Achievement Award was established by the Board of Directors of the American Film Institute on February 26, 1973 to honor a single individual for his or her lifetime contribution to enriching American culture through motion pictures and television. The Recipient is selected and honored at a ceremony annually, with the award presented by a master of ceremonies and recently, the prior year's recipient, who usually gives a brief synopsis of the awarded individual and career background including highlights and achievements. The Trustees initially specified that the recipient must be one who fundamentally advanced the art of film and whose achievements had been acknowledged by the general public as well as by film scholars and critics and the individual's peers. The Trustees also specified that the work of the recipient must have withstood the test of time.

All Life Achievement Award ceremonies have been televised since 1973. Agreeing to appear at the televised ceremony apparently is part of the AFI's criteria for selecting the award. The televised ceremony generates income for the AFI, which is no longer funded by the US government. Due to the exigencies of television, the popularity of the award recipient in terms of potential ratings likely is a factor in selecting the Life Achievement Award honoree, which could explain why it never has been awarded to such major American directors as Robert Altman and George Cukor or such actresses as Joanne Woodward, all of whom were Film Society of Lincoln Center Gala Tribute honorees, or such distinguished actors as Robert Redford, Gene Hackman and Doris Day, all of whom were recipients of The Golden Globes Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Cecil B. DeMille Award for life achievement. Of the first 43 honorees, eight have been women: Bette Davis, Lillian Gish, Barbara Stanwyck, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbra Streisand, Meryl Streep, Shirley MacLaine and Jane Fonda!

- Source TVMaze

Catherine O'Hara Presents PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES for AFI Movie Club Photo Catherine O'Hara Presents PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES for AFI Movie Club
by TV News Desk - August 31, 2020

Catherine O’Hara announces today’s AFI Movie Club selection: PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES....
VIDEO: Ray Romano Announces THE GODFATHER for AFI Movie Club Photo VIDEO: Ray Romano Announces THE GODFATHER for AFI Movie Club
by BWW News Desk - August 21, 2020

Ray Romano announces today's AFI Movie Club selection: THE GODFATHER. The film is secure in the pantheon of the greatest American films of all time – appearing across five of the American Film Institute's lists. In addition, the iconic – and arguably definitive – gangster film features indelible per...
VIDEO: Steve Buscemi Announces JACKIE BROWN For AFI Movie Club Photo VIDEO: Steve Buscemi Announces JACKIE BROWN For AFI Movie Club
by BWW News Desk - August 18, 2020

Steve Buscemi announces today's AFI Movie Club selection: JACKIE BROWN. The film is directed by AFI Honorary Degree recipient Quentin Tarantino, and the star-studded cast includes AFI Life Achievement Award recipient Robert De Niro....
VIDEO: Nathan Lane Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick THE ODD COUPLE Photo VIDEO: Nathan Lane Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick THE ODD COUPLE
by TV News Desk - August 05, 2020

Nathan Lane announces todaya??s AFI Movie Club selection: THE ODD COUPLE....
VIDEO: Bill Duke Announces MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON For AFI Movie Club Photo VIDEO: Bill Duke Announces MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON For AFI Movie Club
by BWW News Desk - July 24, 2020

AFI Alum Bill Duke announces today's AFI Movie Club selection: MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON. ...
Alfre Woodard Announces MCCABE & MRS. MILLER for AFI Movie Club Photo Alfre Woodard Announces MCCABE & MRS. MILLER for AFI Movie Club
by BWW News Desk - July 10, 2020

Alfre Woodard has announced today's AFI Movie Club selection: MCCABE & MRS. MILLER. AFI Life Achievement Award recipient Warren Beatty teamed up with Julie Christie and director Robert Altman to bring MCCABE & MRS. MILLER to the silver screen, which AFI named as one of the greatest westerns in film ...
Rialto Chatter: Will Dustin Hoffman Lead OUR TOWN Revival on Broadway? Photo Rialto Chatter: Will Dustin Hoffman Lead OUR TOWN Revival on Broadway?
by Rialto Chatter - June 30, 2020

BroadwayWorld has learned that online rumors about a Broadway revival of Our Town are true. Producer Scott Rudin has plans to bring Thornton Wilder's play back to Broadway for the first time since 2002. Rudin has tapped Tony winner Bartlett Sher (To Kill a Mockingbird) to direct the play, which will...
VIDEO: On This Day, June 28- Happy Birthday, Mel Brooks! Photo VIDEO: On This Day, June 28- Happy Birthday, Mel Brooks!
by BWW News Desk - June 28, 2020

On this day, we celebrate the birthday of legendary funnyman, Mel Brooks!...
VIDEO: Kerry Washington Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick THE COLOR PURPLE Photo VIDEO: Kerry Washington Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick THE COLOR PURPLE
by TV News Desk - May 27, 2020

Kerry Washington announces today's AFI Movie Club selection: THE COLOR PURPLE....
VIDEO: Demi Moore Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick WHAT A WAY TO GO! Photo VIDEO: Demi Moore Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick WHAT A WAY TO GO!
by TV News Desk - May 20, 2020

Demi Moore announces today's AFI Movie Club selection: WHAT A WAY TO GO!...
VIDEO: Eddie Redmayne Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick REDS Photo VIDEO: Eddie Redmayne Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick REDS
by TV News Desk - May 19, 2020

Eddie Redmayne announces today's AFI Movie Club selection: REDS....
VIDEO: Issa Rae Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS Photo VIDEO: Issa Rae Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS
by TV News Desk - May 14, 2020

Issa Rae announces today's AFI Movie Club selection: DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS....
VIDEO: Jessica Biel Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick EASY RIDER Photo VIDEO: Jessica Biel Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick EASY RIDER
by TV News Desk - May 12, 2020

Jessica Biel announces today's AFI Movie Club selection: EASY RIDER....
VIDEO: Naomi Watts Announces TERMS OF ENDEARMENT for AFI Movie Club Photo VIDEO: Naomi Watts Announces TERMS OF ENDEARMENT for AFI Movie Club
by Stage Tube - May 10, 2020

Naomi Watts announced today's AFI Movie Club selection: TERMS OF ENDEARMENT. AFI Life Achievement Award recipients Shirley MacLaine (2012) and Jack Nicholson (1994) came together to help bring you to tears in TERMS OF ENDEARMENT. The film's director, James L. Brooks, is the Artistic Director of the ...
VIDEO: Jay Roach Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick BEING THERE Photo VIDEO: Jay Roach Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick BEING THERE
by TV News Desk - May 08, 2020

Jay Roach announces today's AFI Movie Club selection: BEING THERE....
VIDEO: Neil Patrick Harris Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick STAR WARS Photo VIDEO: Neil Patrick Harris Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick STAR WARS
by TV News Desk - May 04, 2020

Neil Patrick Harris announces today's AFI Movie Club selection: STAR WARS: EPISODE IV a?" A NEW HOPE....
VIDEO: Hugh Grant Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick ROMAN HOLIDAY Photo VIDEO: Hugh Grant Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick ROMAN HOLIDAY
by TV News Desk - April 30, 2020

Hugh Grant announces today's AFI Movie Club selection: ROMAN HOLIDAY....
VIDEO: Hanelle Culpepper Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTI Photo VIDEO: Hanelle Culpepper Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
by TV News Desk - April 29, 2020

Hanelle Culpepper announces today's AFI Movie Club selection: THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION....
PARKS & RECREATION Returns For One-Time Special To Benefit Feeding America Photo PARKS & RECREATION Returns For One-Time Special To Benefit Feeding America
by BWW News Desk - April 23, 2020

Five years after audiences said goodbye to one of the most beloved comedies in TV history, the fine citizens of Pawnee, Ind., are reuniting for NBC and Universal Television's all-original “A Parks and Recreation Special” set to air Thursday, April 30 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT....
VIDEO: Paul Scheer and Amy Nicholson Announce Today's AFI Movie Club Pick YANKEE DOOD Photo VIDEO: Paul Scheer and Amy Nicholson Announce Today's AFI Movie Club Pick YANKEE DOODLE DANDY
by TV News Desk - April 16, 2020

Paul Scheer and Amy Nicholson from Unspooled announce today's AFI Movie Club selection: YANKEE DOODLE DANDY....
VIDEO: Charlie Day and Mary Elizabeth Ellis Announce Today's AFI Movie Club Pick NINE Photo VIDEO: Charlie Day and Mary Elizabeth Ellis Announce Today's AFI Movie Club Pick NINE TO FIVE
by TV News Desk - April 15, 2020

Charlie Day and Mary Elizabeth Ellis announce today's AFI Movie Club selection: NINE TO FIVE. The film appears on AFI's 100 YEARS...100 LAUGHS list, and Dolly Parton's anthem “9 to 5” is on AFI's list of greatest songs! And Jane Fonda, one of the stars of the film, was the recipient of the AFI Life ...
VIDEO: Cynthia Erivo Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA Photo VIDEO: Cynthia Erivo Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA
by TV News Desk - April 08, 2020

Cynthia Erivo announces today's AFI Movie Club selection: THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA....
VIDEO: Halle Berry Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick E.T.: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL Photo VIDEO: Halle Berry Announces Today's AFI Movie Club Pick E.T.: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL
by TV News Desk - April 07, 2020

Halle Berry announces today's AFI Movie Club selection: E.T.: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL....
The American Film Institute Launches AFI MOVIE CLUB Photo The American Film Institute Launches AFI MOVIE CLUB
by TV News Desk - March 31, 2020

The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today the launch of AFI Movie Club – a daily virtual gathering to leverage our collective love of film on behalf of optimism in this time of global uncertainty. AFI Trustee Steven Spielberg introduced the inaugural film, THE WIZARD OF OZ, in a video that r...
BWW Exclusive: The 101 Greatest MOVIE MUSICALS of All Time Photo BWW Exclusive: The 101 Greatest MOVIE MUSICALS of All Time
by Peter Nason - March 30, 2020

BWW Reviewer Peter Nason chooses the best film musicals since the sound era began; see if your favorites made the list!...