DuVernay, whose creative work has often mirrored her interests as a social activist, received an Oscar nomination and won an Emmy in 2017 for her documentary 13th, an in-depth look at the U.S. prison system and how it reveals the country’s history of racial inequality. Selma, her Martin Luther King biopic, which focused on King’s epic 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, was a 2015 best picture Oscar nominee and won the Academy Award for best original song.
DuVernay’s Netflix limited series When They See Us, a dramatization of the infamous Central Park Five case, in which five young Black men were falsely accused of a brutal attack in Central Park, received 16 Emmy nominations, winning two.
Her 2018 Disney fantasy epic A Wrinkle in Time earned more than $100 million domestically, making DuVernay the highest-grossing Black woman director in American box office history.
DuVernay, via here Array Filmworks shingle, is currently overseeing production on the final season of the critically acclaimed OWN series Queen Sugar, working on an untitled romantic drama for Starz, and writing, directing and producing the narrative film adaptation of Isabel Wilkerson’s bestselling nonfiction book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent for Netflix.
“Ava DuVernay is a force of nature and this is reflected in the remarkable scope and volume of her work,” said International Academy president and CEO Bruce L. Paisner. “She makes significant films and television programs, she uses her platform to reshape our industry and continues to lead a career-long effort to bolster women and people of color in entertainment and ensure inclusivity.”
DuVernay will be honored at the 50th International Emmy Awards Gala in New York on Nov. 21.
“This honor from the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is unexpected and wildly appreciated,” said DuVernay. “I thank the organization for recognizing my work and salute their efforts to ensure that storytellers of all backgrounds are amplified and celebrated.”
The International Emmy’s Founders Award celebrates excellence in television entertainment across all fields. Previous honorees include Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and Shonda Rhimes.