Jeffrey Katzenberg Will Receive National Medal of Arts

Jeffrey Katzenberg. (Photo-illustration/original photo: Shutterstock)

President Obama will honor DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg with the 2013 National Medal of Arts. The honor, which will also be bestowed upon 11 other individuals and organizations this year, is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government.

Katzenberg is one of Obama’s top campaign donors, having personally donated over $3 million to Democratic super-PACS that back the president and raising an additional $30 million for Obama. He is one of the first businessmen to ever receive the award, which traditionally honors artists. President Obama toured DreamWorks’ campus last year.

The announcement for the honors described Katzenberg as “director and CEO of DreamWorks.” A National Endowment for the Arts spokesperson later clarified to the press that “director” referred to Katzenberg’s role on the DreamWorks Animation board.

Over 300 National Medals of Arts have been handed out since 1985. The only other animation-related person who has received the honor was Disney animator Ollie Johnston in 2005.

Katzenberg will receive his medal on July 28; the event will be streamed on the White House website.


  • Dem4life

    and one dirty hand washes the other…

  • Matt

    In other words he bought himself that award and Obama gave him permission to start taking his studio overseas to China. Obama hasn’t created any jobs and people like Jeffrey love the guy cause he gets to run his studio for the least amount of money all the while our president is kissing his ass as Jeffrey puts more money in his Obama’s pocket. For everyone who voted for this man you got what you asked for, CHANGE and in a bad way as for HOPE well that went away the day he took office.

    • Jack Rabbit

      [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, "Defamatory, rude, or unnecessarily antagonistic comments will be deleted."]

    • DJM

      Actually, under Obama terms of office, unemployment is lower than it has ever been in years. While I don’t like a lot of Obama’s policies, unemployment is one he did succeed in.

    • Strong Enough

      if i could DOWNvote you a hundred times i would

  • Taco

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dkv0KCR3Yiw
    Like the exemplary Mr Richard Feynman “I don’t like Honours.”… especially when they’re bought & paid for.

  • talos72

    I guess you get a medal for possibly tanking a company, aka DW, though crappy business decisions, and for helping ship animation work overseas, and being a part of a wage theft cartell! As long as you can cut a massive check to whoever the president is, that’s what matters.

  • Rendrman

    So he’s involved in a lawsuit for illegal wage fixing of artists, AND being honored by the White House as an “art patron?” I need to get rich and buy me a president…

  • grainy

    Next up, President Obama will honor Pixar’s John Lasseter with a Sprint Cup Trophy.

  • WHoopee

    Congrats on recently laying off 40-50 Employees and Sending more and more US jobs to India and now China. Congrats on conspiring with other US studios to put a lid on Animator’s wages.
    You’re a True American Hero.

    Good luck with your upcoming Troll movie. Is it a bio-pic?

  • disgruntled

    Illegal wage fixing and offshoring hundreds of jobs gets one a National Medal of the Arts? Oooooooooo Kay.

  • Mister Twister

    Yes. Don’t honor artists, writers, storyboarders, and directors. Honor the CEO’s. Because they did all the work.

  • Ant G

    This is as well deserved as Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize before he did anything as president and did you know he even won a grammy for just reading his own book? These are just friends scratching each others’ backs for favors, these awards lost their meaning a long time ago.

  • Strong Enough

    a lot of layoffed dreamworks employees in here

  • Toonio
  • Roberto Severino

    Criminals getting rewarded for their thievery. How typical. If things were a lot better, this guy would get a Bernie Madoff like consequence for what he did.

  • DangerMaus

    Price of a blob of lead with cheap gold plate: thirty-three million dollars.

  • idiotSlammer

    “I’m not some rabid ideologue.” Yeah, right! Your point about the “true” unemployment number being much higher is something we never heard about until Obama became President and began to lower unemployment. This is just another right-wing talking point trying to diminish anything good accomplished by the black President. And by the way, “fan of math,” if, in fact, your recitation is correct, well, then it’s RELATIVE! So anytime an unemployment number was quoted under any and all Presidents, the “true” numbers were also actually higher. So that means the fact is still the fact – Obama has lowered unemployment!

    • AmidAmidi

      And now we return to your regularly scheduled programming: Jeffrey Katzenberg.

      Keep it on topic everybody!

      • http://sobieniak.blogspot.com/ Chris Sobieniak

        We try. Just isn’t easy when you still have axes to grind.

      • Fried

        It’s natural for a conversation to digress to different points. If everyone here stayed on topic, then we shouldn’t be complaining about the current scandal and recent job losses either because neither of those have to do with Katz getting an award from Obama.

    • Aaaa

      This chart showing the true unemployment rate since the 90s clearly shows that real unemployment is highest under Obama: http://www.shadowstats.com/imgs/sgs-emp.gif?hl=ad&t=1404393100

  • Tony

    If I may play devil’s advocate here: let’s not forget that before Dreamworks, Katzenberg supervised the production of the Disney features of the ’80s and ’90s. Classics like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. That is still a considerable achievement. Not to mention all the charity work he does.
    Having said that, I still think there are still more deserving people in the animation community.

    • WHoopee

      Katzenberg said it himself, “Its not about where you start….its where you finish”… He’s not finishing in such a nice place lately.

    • white vader

      See my above comment about exactly what that tenure led to (and Aladdin and Lion King were shameless ripoffs even if they were good rippoffs)…

  • Tre

    Coming up next, Ed Catmull gets a knighthood.

  • white vader

    Can we take it away again because he and Eisner said 2d was dead and had the power to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy?

  • AnimationGuy

    What a sham.
    He’s not even an artist, he’s a businessman, and a crooked one at that.