Screen Actors Guild Foundation Honors Lee Daniels, Megan Ellison, & Rob Marshall With Inaugural “Patron Of The Artists Awards” At SAG Foundation 30th Anniversary Celebration On November 5th

October 13, 2015

LOS ANGELES (October 13, 2015) — The Screen Actors Guild Foundation announced today its tributes to award-winning director/producer/writer Lee Daniels, award-winning producer Megan Ellison, and award-winning director/producer Rob Marshall with the first “Patron of the Artists Awards” at the nonprofit’s 30th Anniversary Celebration on November 5th. Honoring industry leaders who are champions of the arts, the award recognizes individuals whose history of fostering creativity and creating opportunities for actors has made a positive impact on the acting profession and the performing arts.

“This year, the SAG Foundation celebrates 30 years of giving back to the community, and our three Patron of the Artists Award recipients are class acts known for generously contributing to a world-wide community of artists,” said SAG Foundation President JoBeth Williams. “Each has discovered, nurtured, and propelled creative talent both in front and behind the camera – Lee for diversity in storytelling and casting, Megan as a next generation patron for auteur filmmakers, and Rob for reviving the musical genre and giving actors opportunities to showcase different talents. Their legacy and future work are inspirations for fans and filmmakers alike and the SAG Foundation is thrilled to honor them.”

“Actors are the pulse of every project I do.  I’m excited and honored to be part of this special event with the SAG Foundation,” said Daniels.

“I am completely thrilled and humbled to be receiving this newly created honor from the SAG Foundation.  My greatest joy comes from working with actors and I feel incredibly lucky to have worked with the very best,” said Marshall.

The nonprofit recently announced Leonardo DiCaprio will receive the Actors Inspiration Award during the SAG Foundation 30th Anniversary Celebration taking place Thursday, November 5th at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. The event will include musical performances with ticket sales benefitting the SAG Foundation. Performers and presenters will be announced in the next several weeks. Sponsors include Vanity Fair, United Airlines, Champagne Taittinger, Rise Up Foundation and Variety. To purchase tickets and for more information, please visit To follow the 30th Anniversary Celebration, follow @SAGFoundation on Twitter and Instagram and /SAGFoundation on Facebook, and use #SAGF30 to join the conversation.

In 2015, the Screen Actors Guild Foundation celebrates 30 years of giving back to the professionals of SAG-AFTRA, their families and communities. The nonprofit provides vital assistance and educational programming to the professionals of SAG-AFTRA while serving the public at large through its signature children’s literacy programs. For 30 years, the Foundation has granted more than $17 million in financial and medical assistance through its Catastrophic Health Fund and Emergency Assistance Programs, and $6.5 million in scholarships to SAG-AFTRA members and their dependents. In addition, the nonprofit has offered 5000 free educational workshops, panels and screenings to union performers nationwide and its children’s literacy programs have brought the love of reading to more than 66 million children worldwide.


About Lee Daniels

Lee Daniels is an Academy Award® nominated filmmaker whose work is trademarked by authenticity and candor, providing audiences with a unique and refreshing experience and character insight with each of his projects. In 2013 he released the critically acclaimed box office smash LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER, an epic starring Forest Whitaker which grossed over $175 million worldwide. He is widely known for his Academy Award winning film PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE, which was nominated for six Academy Awards with wins for Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay. Also, Daniels was the first African American to be nominated for a Director’s Guild of America Award on behalf of PRECIOUS. Daniels’ production company, Lee Daniels Entertainment, made its feature film debut with MONSTER’S BALL, making Daniels the sole African-American producer of an Oscar®-winning and Oscar®-nominated film. Other credits include THE WOODSMAN, THE PAPERBOY, and his directorial debut, SHADOWBOXER.

Daniels is currently working on the hit television series “Empire” for Fox, for which he wrote and directed the pilot and serves as a producer on the series.  This one hour family drama is set in the world of a hip-hop empire that features both original and contemporary music.  Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson star, with Timbaland producing the show’s original music.  The show premiered in January 2015 and has continuously been breaking records for increasing its ratings and total viewers every week since its debut.  Daniels also recently signed an overall development deal with Fox television, where he will continue to create develop, write, direct and supervise new projects under his Lee Daniels Entertainment banner.  His first project under the deal will be STAR, a show centered around three women in a musical group in Atlanta.


About Megan Ellison

Megan Ellison is the founder and principal of Annapurna Pictures, a film production and finance company that focuses on creating sophisticated, high-quality content which sets itself apart. Ellison successfully upholds the company’s vision to produce critically and commercially conscious projects which appeal to a diverse audience, allowing filmmakers and artists to create story content of all genres and mediums while preserving their authenticity.

Annapurna’s projects since 2012 have earned thirty Academy Award nominations, and Ellison is one of only four honorees ever to receive two Best Picture nominations in the same year. Annapurna’s three Best Picture nominated films include David O. Russell’s AMERICAN HUSTLE, Spike Jonze’s HER, and Kathryn Bigelow’s ZERO DARK THIRTY. Annapurna’s most recent film, FOXCATCHER, directed by Bennett Miller, was released last year and received five Academy Award nominations along with three Golden Globe nominations.

Annapurna is currently in post-production on David O. Russell’s JOY, starring Jennifer Lawrence, as well as Richard Linklater’s EVERYBODY WANTS SOME, Todd Solondz’s WIENER-DOG, Ana Lily Amirpour’s THE BAD BATCH, and Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon’s animated SAUSAGE PARTY, written by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir. Annapurna is currently in production on Mike Mills’ 20th CENTURY WOMEN, starring Annette Bening, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup and Elle Fanning, shooting in Southern California.


About Rob Marshall

Award-winning director, Rob Marshall, most recently helmed and produced INTO THE WOODS for Disney which grossed $212.9 million worldwide and was nominated for three Oscars, three Golden Globes (including Best Picture), and was chosen as one of AFI’s best films of the year.  He also directed the Academy Award-winning films CHICAGO and MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA. For CHICAGO (winner of 6 Oscars, including Best Picture), Marshall received Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations, and the DGA Award. His epic motion picture, MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, won three Oscars, three BAFTA Awards and a Golden Globe.  His film version of the musical NINE was nominated for four Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, ten Critics’ Choice Awards and a SAG Award for Outstanding Cast.  Marshall’s film, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES, earned over a billion dollars worldwide.

Also a prolific theater director and choreographer, Marshall is a six-time Tony Award nominee. For television, he executive produced, directed and choreographed the NBC television event TONY BENNETT: AN AMERICAN CLASSIC for which he won three Emmy Awards and the DGA Award.


About the Screen Actors Guild Foundation

The Screen Actors Guild Foundation envisions a world where all artists can realize their dreams, and children are empowered to create their own. Founded in 1985, the SAG Foundation is an educational, humanitarian and philanthropic 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, independent from SAG-AFTRA, and relies solely on support from grants, corporate sponsorships, and individual contributions to maintain its programs. For more information, visit Follow SAG Foundation on Twitter (, Facebook (, YouTube ( and Instagram (




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