The Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation (WRMPPF) honored Tom Cruise, multiple Academy Award nominee and three-time Golden Globe winner, as its 2018 Pioneer of the Year. Director, producer and Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie presented Cruise with the prestigious award at the Foundation’s annual Pioneer of the Year dinner, which took place Wednesday night at Caesars Palace during the National Association of Theaters Owners (NATO) annual convention, CinemaCon.
Cruise was honored before an audience of 2,500 motion picture executives consisting of film studio chiefs, theatrical distribution heads, and exhibition presidents and CEOs. Multiple Emmy-winning actor and comedian James Corden surprised guests to emcee the evening that included a special performance by Tony and Grammy Award-winning Hamilton star Leslie Odom, Jr. Additional appearances were made by actors Angela Bassett, Henry Cavill, Simon Pegg and Paramount Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Gianopulos.
A tradition for 72 years, the Pioneer of the Year dinner honors leaders of the motion picture industry and within the philanthropic community. The Pioneer of the Year award is one of the motion picture industry’s highest honors. This year’s event raised a CinemaCon record of more than $1.5 million for the benefit of the Pioneers Assistance Fund which provides financial assistance to individuals in the motion picture distribution and exhibition community who are encountering an illness, injury, or a life-changing event.
Cruise is the first actor to receive the award. Having achieved extraordinary success as an actor and producer in a career spanning over three decades, Cruise is a three-time Academy Award® nominee and three-time Golden Globe Award winner whose films have grossed $9 billion in worldwide box office — an incomparable accomplishment.
A global cultural icon, Cruise has portrayed some of the most memorable characters of all time in blockbuster films such as Top Gun, Jerry Maguire, Risky Business, Minority Report, Interview with the Vampire, A Few Good Men, The Firm, Rain Man, Collateral, The Last Samurai, Edge of Tomorrow, The Color of Money and the Mission: Impossible franchise, among many others.
Cruise’s versatility is evidenced by the films he selects and characters he portrays. He has had a producing role on many of his legendary films and has worked with a remarkable list of award-winning and esteemed film directors, including Francis Ford Coppola, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Martin Scorsese, Barry Levinson, Oliver Stone, Ron Howard, Rob Reiner, Sydney Pollack, Neil Jordan, Brian de Palma, Cameron Crowe, Stanley Kubrick, Paul Thomas Anderson, Ed Zwick, Steven Spielberg, Michael Mann, J.J. Abrams, Robert Redford, Brad Bird, Doug Liman and Chris McQuarrie.
Cruise will next star in the sixth installment in the Mission Impossible (July 27, 2018) franchise for Paramount Pictures followed by Top Gun: Maverick (July 12, 2019), the studio’s long awaited sequel to the Cruise classic Top Gun.
“A consummate filmmaker, leader, and visionary involved in all aspects of film production, Tom is an accomplished member of our entertainment community who demonstrates extraordinary creativity and exceptional influence in our industry; these qualities make him a true pioneer,” said Kyle Davies, President of WRMPPF and President of Domestic Distribution at Paramount Pictures. “We are delighted to honor Tom as the 2018 Pioneer of the Year.”