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Vision Award

The festival’s top honor, the Vision Award, pays tribute to industry icons who have provided the keen insight, influence and initiative needed to see their creative visions come to fruition. Past honorees include Clint Eastwood, Oliver Stone and Geena Davis.

“We started the Vision Award with Clint Eastwood, because he’s an icon of the industry we really wanted to celebrate,” says festival Director Candice Pate. “Since then, we’ve built quite a tradition of honoring heavy hitters whose contributions will stand the test of time.”

The Vision Award is presented at a private dinner generously hosted by Kim and Rick Selby.

2019 Honoree

Meg Ryan

Meg Ryan’s comedic appeal was widely recognized in her first Golden Globe-nominated performance as Sally Allbright in WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, directed by Rob Reiner and written by Nora Ephron. She went on to star in Nora Ephron’s hit romantic comedy SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, opposite Tom Hanks, garnering a second Golden Globe nomination. Her last collaboration with Ephron and Hanks was the romantic comedy YOU’VE GOT MAIL, which once again gained Ryan international recognition as she was awarded her third Golden Globe nomination for her role in the film.

Acclaim has also come to Ryan for her distinctive dramatic portraits, including her role opposite Denzel Washington as the first military woman nominated for a Medal of Honor in COURAGE UNDER FIRE, directed by Ed Zwick, and her moving portrayal of a wonderful woman with a drinking problem in Luis Mandoki’s WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN, opposite Andy Garcia. For her performance opposite Kiefer Sutherland in the Sundance Institute’s PROMISED LAND, she earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination.

Ryan exhibits her versatility and natural charm in every role she plays. Ryan’s recent film credits include Cheryl Hines’ SERIOUS MOONLIGHT penned by the late Adrienne Shelley; the remake of George Cukor’s 1930 film THE WOMEN; Jonathan Kasdan’s IN THE LAND OF WOMEN and Steven Schachter’s THE DEAL.


A Fairfield, Connecticut native, Ryan embarked on her acting career after studying journalism at New York University. She made her motion picture debut as Candice Bergen’s daughter in RICH AND FAMOUS, and attracted the attention of moviegoers and critics in her 1986 performance as a fighter pilot’s wife in TOP GUN.

In 2011, Ryan traveled to Cambodia with journalist Nick Kristof as part of the groundbreaking PBS documentary series, HALF THE SKY.

Ryan can last be seen in her directorial film debut ITHACA, written by Erik Jendersen and based on the novel by William Saroyan. ITHACA was released September 9th, 2016.

Past Recipients

The festival chose to honor Gwyneth Paltrow in 2018 in part because her career has expanded into media other than film, which SVFF Director Candice Pate says dovetailed nicely with the festival’s widening media horizons.

“I think the work she’s done across many spectrums is really emblematic of how we want to expand the festival,” Pate said. “We want to celebrate those accomplishments. Given how media landscape is shifting to include more formats, we are broadening our own offerings… That we get to celebrate this women who has this long list of achievements in and out of cinemas is really great.”

Paltrow, whose 1998 performance in “Shakespeare in Love” garnered her Best Actress honors at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards and Academy Awards, is also a decorated author, singer and entrepreneur.

In 2008 Paltrow launched goop, an online store and newsletter providing lifestyle advice and information. goop’s recent ventures include goop magazine in collaboration with Condé Nast and goop Lab, its first permanent store in Brentwood, Calif.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Geena Davis

Geena Davis is one of Hollywood’s most respected actors. In 1989, Davis received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Accidental Tourist. Davis broke ground in her portrayal of the first female president of the United States in ABC’s hit show “Commander in Chief,” earning the 2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Preformance by an Actress in a Television Series Drama.

Davis is also recognized for her tireless advocacy of gender equality in media nearly as much as for her acting accomplishments. She is the Founder and Chair of the Geeena Davis Institute of Gender in Media. In 2015, Davis launched the Bentonville Film Festival, an unprecedented initiative in support of women and diversity in the entertainment industry and serves as it’s Co-Founder and Chair. Davis was recently awarded the Women in Motion award from Kering and Cannes Film Festival for her contributions to the movie industry and the women’s cause as part of a program that aims to support female professionals in the film business.

Academy Award- winning director Oliver Stone was 2016 recipient of the Vision Award. Stone, known for films that take a critical look at controversial issues in American politics, “is truly one of the great ones” says Executive Director Teddy Grennan.

Leaving Vietnamn in 1968 after being wounded twice- and being warded two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star- Stone used his experience in Vietnam to become one of the most famous and controversial filmmakers in the United States, producing and directing such movies as “Platoon” and its sequels, “Born on the Forth of July” and “Heaven & Earth,” along with more than 20 other films.

The Sun Valley Film Festival noted in a news release that Stone’s “rabble-rousing” films and unique vision, often casting a critical eye on American political issues of the late 20th century, have left a legacy on American filmmaking, for which he was awarded the 2016 festival’s Lifetime Vision Award.

Oliver Stone

Clint Eastwood

In 2015 Clint Eastwood was honored with the Lifetime Vision Award at the Roundhouse with an intimate dinner midway up Bald Mountain. In In 1985, Eastwood filmed Pale Rider just outside Sun Valley in the Boulder Mountains. The actor and director has earned countless awards throughout his career, some of which are the most prestigious in the industry. Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby (2004) earned two Academy AwardsBest Picture and Best Director. It also awarded him with a Golden Globe for Best Picture.  

Clint Eastwood sums up SVFF’s Vision Award, with his keen insight, influence and initiative to see his creative visions come to fruition perfectly. While he is one of the most iconic American actors to this day he is also a part of this community. SVFF is a community driven event and to include someone who is a part of it is a great honor. SVFF was and is proud to share this award with one of the most iconic and well respected actor and filmmaker of our time.