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The Robert Osborne Award

Turner Classic Movies pays tribute to our late host, Robert Osborne, with the Robert Osborne Award, presented annually at the TCM Classic Film Festival to an individual whose work has helped preserve the cultural heritage of classic film for future generations. In 2024, TCM honors film historian, author, and professor Jeanine Basinger in recognition of her film scholarship, stewardship of notable filmmaker archives, and for her dedication to creating new generations of filmmakers. Past recipients have included: Martin Scorsese, Kevin Brownlow, Leonard Maltin and Donald Bogle.

The Robert Osborne Award 2024 Recipient Jeanine Basinger

“Jeanine Basinger’s love of cinema and the people who make it is joyful and infectious; it’s overflowing.”

– Martin Scorsese

Film has been Jeanine Basinger’s life for as long as she can remember. She was an inveterate filmgoer by the age of three in her native Brookings, SD. At 11, she went to work as an usher, learning how to analyze film by watching the same pictures repeatedly. With few serious books on film available, she studied the field by visiting archives and interviewing classic filmmakers. She arrived at Wesleyan University in 1960 as marketing director for their publishing enterprise. Before long, she was teaching classes in film, eventually creating Wesleyan’s College of Film and the Moving Image and the Wesleyan Cinema Archive, home to the papers of Frank Capra, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Ingrid Bergman, and many others. Basinger has published seminal studies of female images on film (A Woman’s View) and the star system (Silent Stars and The Star Machine) along with books on filmmakers like Anthony Mann and Gene Kelly, marriage in the movies and It’s a Wonderful Life. Her work in film preservation and restoration includes serving as a trustee emeritus of the American Film Institute and an advisor to Scorsese’s Film Foundation. Perhaps her greatest legacy, however, is the students she has helped turn into future filmmakers by instilling them with a love of the art form’s past, including Akiva Goldsman, Paul Weitz, Nick Meyer, Dana Delaney and Bradley Whitford.

Jeanine Basinger is the Corwin-Fuller Emerita Professor of Film Studies at Wesleyan University, founder of the Wesleyan Cinema Archives, founding Chair of the Film Studies Department, and a two-time recipient of Wesleyan’s Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching. She has authored over one dozen books and nearly 100 articles on film.  Basinger is the co-author of Hollywood: The Oral History; author of Silent Stars, which won the National Board of Review’s William K. Everson Prize, and author of The Star Machine, which won the Theatre Library Association Award.  She also served as associate producer on two episodes of PBS’s long-running documentary series, American Masters.

Basinger is a trustee of the National Board of Review and the American Film Institute and a former member of the Board of Advisors of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers. She also is an advisor to Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation project, The Story of Movies.

As founder of the Wesleyan Cinema Archives, Basinger was responsible for and continues to consult on the care of papers from some of film history’s most significant names, both then and now: Frank Capra, Clint Eastwood, Elia Kazan, Ingrid Bergman, Martin Scorsese, John Waters, Raoul Walsh, Gene Tierney, Kay Francis, Marion Davies and more.

Wesleyan’s new Center for Film Studies was named in Basinger’s honor in 2021 in tribute of her establishment of the nationally recognized film program, her profusion of scholarly publications, and her ongoing alumni relationships.

“I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award than Jeanine because like TCM, she has passed on her love of classic films to generations of students.”
– Leonard Maltin, Film historian and 2022 recipient of the Robert Osborne Award

“…Her books should be required reading for any aspiring filmmaker . . . or anyone who simply loves film.”
Clint Eastwood, actor/filmmaker

SPECIAL GUEST:  Jeanine Basinger

EVENT:  WESTWARD THE WOMEN, preceded by the presentation of the Robert Osborne Award