Banks, Elizabeth: 2019 Pioneer of the Year Award–Women in Film

Elizabeth Banks, the gifted actress and fast-rising filmmaker, will receive the 2019 Pioneer of the Year award, which will make her the first female director to be feted with the honor, the Will Rogers Motion Pictures Pioneers Foundation.

Only a handful of women have been named Pioneer of the Year in recent years. They were all execs, of one sort or another, including Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, Paramount chief Sherry Lansing and AMPAS President Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

In recent years, the awards banquet has been held in Las Vegas in conjunction with CinemaCon. Now, it is moving back to L.A.

Banks made her feature directorial debut with Pitch Perfect 2, a box office hit that grossed $287 million globally, then the highest showing ever for a first-time director.

She’s currently working on Charlie’s Angels, which hits theaters November 1, in various capacities: She directs, produces and co-stars, in addition to co-writing.

Banks is also an advocate for women and supports a number of charitable organizations, such as Time’s Up and Women’s March Los Angeles.

The Pioneer of the Year award recognizes a respected member of the motion picture industry for their leadership, service and commitment to philanthropy.

Past recipients include Tom Cruise, Jim Gianopulos, Alan Horn and Jeffrey Katzenberg.  Tom Cruise was only the second actor to receive the Pioneer of the Year award after the late Bob Hope in 1980.

Proceeds from the Pioneer ceremony at the Beverly Hilton will benefit the Pioneers Assistance Fund (PAF), a charity that helps movie industry vets encountering an illness, injury or life-changing event.