The award will be presented to Penn at the 22nd Annual Producers Guild Awards
ceremony on Saturday, January 22nd at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.
The Stanley Kramer Award was established in 2002 to honor a motion picture, producer
or other individual, whose achievement or contribution illuminates provocative social
issues in an accessible and elevating fashion. Kramer, considered within the film industry
to have served as “Hollywood’s Conscience” during his career as a film producer and
director, created some of the most respected and successful works in the annals of
American motion pictures. He was the master behind such classics as THE CAINE
MUTINY, HIGH NOON, THE DEFIANT ONES, and GUESS WHO’S COMING TO
Previous recipients of the Kramer award include such films as THE GREAT
DEBATERS, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, HOTEL RWANDA, INNOCENT
VOICES, IN AMERICA, ANTWONE FISHER, and the 2010 winner was PRECIOUS:
BASED ON THE NOVEL ‘PUSH’ BY SAPPHIRE. Sean Penn is the first individual to
receive the Guild’s Stanley Kramer Award, and the first recipient of the award in 2002
was the film I AM SAM, which Penn starred in.
“We are proud to honor Sean Penn with this award as he truly exemplifies the Stanley
Kramer legacy. Sean is a committed activist who has used his extraordinary talents and
influence to shed light on powerful stories, causes and individuals—through film,
journalism, and global humanitarian organizations,” said Paula Wagner, Chair of the
2011 Producers Guild Awards.
Two-time Academy Award® winner Sean Penn has become an American film icon in a
career spanning nearly three decades. Penn has been nominated five times for the
Academy Award® as Best Actor for DEAD MAN WALKING, SWEET AND
LOWDOWN, I AM SAM and won his first Oscar® in 2003 for his searing performance
in Clint Eastwood’s MYSTIC RIVER and his second Oscar® as Best Actor in 2009 for
Gus Van Sant’s MILK. The performance as gay rights icon Harvey Milk also garnered
Penn “Best Actor” awards from The Screen Actors Guild, New York Film Critics Circle
and Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
Penn has also received Best Actor awards at the Cannes (SHE’S SO LOVELY) and
Berlin (DEAD MAN WALKING) Film Festivals, as well as being a two-time winner of
Best Actor honors at the Venice Film Festival (HURLYBURLY, 21 GRAMS). Penn can
currently be seen in Doug Liman’s drama FAIR GAME opposite Naomi Watts and will
next be seen in Terrence Malick’s drama THE TREE OF LIFE opposite Brad Pitt. He
recently wrapped production on Paolo Sorrentino’s THIS MUST BE THE PLACE.
Penn’s feature film directorial debut came with 1991’s THE INDIAN RUNNER, which
he also wrote and produced. In 1995, he directed THE CROSSING GUARD, which he
also wrote and produced. His third film as director/producer was 2001’s THE PLEDGE
starring Jack Nicholson and was named in the Top Ten Films of 2001 by The National
Board of Review. Since then, Penn wrote and directed the United States contribution to
the compilation film 11’09’01. This important project gathered 11 acclaimed directors
from around the world to create short films in response to the horrific events of
September 11, 2001.
In 2003 the film was nominated for a French Cesar in the best
European Union Film category and received a special recognition award from the
National Board of Review. As writer, producer and director, INTO THE WILD marked
Penn’s fourth feature film, which opened to rave reviews in September 2007. The film,
based on Jon Krakauer’s best-selling non-fiction book, premiered at the Telluride and
Toronto Film Festivals and appeared on many lists of the top ten films of 2007.
Penn has appeared on stage in productions including Alfred Hayes’ “Girl on the Via
Flaminia” and Albert Innaurato’s “Earthworms In Los Angeles.” On Broadway, Penn
performed in Kevin Heelan’s “Heartland” and John Byrne’s “Slab Boys.” He appeared in
David Rabe’s “Hurlyburly,” at the Westwood Playhouse, and “Goose and Tom Tom,” at
Lincoln Center, both productions directed by the author. Most recently, Penn starred
opposite Nick Nolte and Woody Harrelson in “The Late Henry Moss,” written and
directed by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Sam Shepard.
In 2002, Sean Penn was presented with the Modern Master Award at the Santa Barbara
International Film Festival, and in 2003, became the youngest recipient to ever receive
the Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award from the San Sebastian Film Festival. In
2004, he was honored with the John Steinbeck Award for outspoken torch-bearers in the
creative arts. In 2008, Penn received the Desert Palm Achievement Award for Acting,
after being presented in 2007 with the Director of the Year Award for INTO THE WILD
from the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Penn served as President of the jury
for the 2008 Cannes International Film Festival and later that year was named a Knight in
the French Legion of Honor.
As a journalist, Penn has written for Time, Interview, Rolling Stone and The Nation
magazines. In 2004, Penn wrote a two-part feature in The San Francisco Chronicle after
a second visit to the war-torn Iraq. In 2005, he wrote a five-part feature in the same paper
reporting from Iran during the election which led to the Ahmadinejad regime. Penn’s
landmark interviews with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and Cuba’s President
Raul Castro, were published in The Nation and The Huffington Post. Penn’s interview
with President Castro was the first-ever interview with an international journalist.
Penn’s humanitarian work has found him in New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina and more recently in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
In January 2010, Penn founded the J/P Haitian Relief Organization which focuses on medical aid, protection,
and re-location. His organization is currently serving as UN IOM designated Camp
Management for the largest IDP camp in Port-au-Prince and established the first
emergency re-location in the country. For his efforts, Penn received the Commander’s
Award for Service (US Army 82nd Airborne Division), 82nd Airborne Award for
Meritorious Service, the Operation Unified Response JTF Haiti Certificate from
Lieutenant General, US Army Commander P.K. Keen, along with the 1st Recon 73rd
Division Coin of Excellence, 2nd Brigade Combat Team Coin of Excellence,
Commendation of Excellence United States Southern Command, and Award of
Excellence by the Deputy Commander US Southern Command. Earlier this year, Penn
was honored with the “Children’s and Families Global Development Fund Humanitarian
Award” presented by the Ambassador of the Republic of Haiti, Raymond A. Joseph and
his wife, Lola Poisson-Joseph. Additionally, in July 2010 Penn was knighted by Haitian
President Rene Preval in a ceremony in Port-Au-Prince and in October 2010 Penn
received the Hollywood Humanitarian Award from the Hollywood Film Festival.