DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group will present Shalini Govil-Pai, VP and GM of TV platforms at Google, with the 2023 Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology.
At the same time, the Hedy Lamarr Inspiration Award will be presented to Dean Elizabeth Daley of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, for her pioneering adoption of cutting-edge technology into curriculum and practice.
In its seventh year, the Hedy Lamarr Awards recognize female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry.
Govil-Pai drove the creation of Google TV from the ground up, working to bring the best of Google — from Search, to Assistant, YouTube, Play and Nest — together to create a transformative experience for users, according to the DEG. She now leads a team of more than 300 engineers, product managers, UX designers, partnership managers, and others — a business within Google — and is a champion for diversity, equity, and inclusion, especially of women, as well as a respected international speaker and author on digital production trends, the DEG noted. Google CEO Sundar Pichai has called Google TV “one of the best products Google has ever made.”
“I am thrilled that the Hedy Lamarr Innovation Award for 2023 will recognize Shalini Govil-Pai of Google, who is leading the way in providing consumers with smooth, intuitive, convenient and attractive user experiences to connect with all the content they want, when and where they want it,” DEG president and CEO Amy Jo Smith said in a statement. “There is no more important issue to the future of in-home entertainment.”
“I am pleased and excited to accept the Hedy Lamarr Innovation Award from DEG,” Govil-Pai said in a statement. “My career has been dedicated to using technology to help storytellers connect with audiences and I am honored to accept this recognition of the role technology plays in telling our stories, and the role women play in technology.”
Daley is the longest serving Dean at USC, where she has led the growth and technological transformation of what has been ranked as one of the most successful and important film and media arts programs in the world, according to the DEG. As part of the digital transition in the School of Cinematic Arts, Dean Daley founded the Entertainment Technology Center @ USC in the early 1990s to foster collaboration between academics, students and the media and entertainment industry.
The Inspiration Award was created this year by the Hedy Lamarr Awards judging panel to recognize Dean Daley’s long influence on the next generation of content creators. Moving forward it will be presented only in those years when the judges encounter a candidate who demonstrates the highest level of technological leadership, generosity of talent and commitment to the growth of budding storytellers and technologists.
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The 2023 Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology, honoring a female college student whose studies in the fields of entertainment and technology have shown exceptional promise, will be presented to two students for 2023: Lily Chen, an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology majoring in Mathematics with Computer Science; and Memphis Grace MacPherson, an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California who is majoring in Art, Technology, and the Business of Innovation in the Iovine Young Academy, with a minor in Themed Entertainment in the School of Cinematic Arts. Each will receive a financial award to continue her education.
UCLA student Ingrid Lee, a Computer Science and Engineering major with a Theatre minor, is recognized as a Finalist for the Award.
“The judging panel was just blown away by the accomplishments of Dean Daley,” Smith said in a statement. “She can only be called visionary and the influence she has exerted on decades of aspiring content creators makes her one of the very most impactful people working in entertainment technology globally. It is because of leaders like her that we have an ever-growing pool of highly qualified student applicants for the Hedy Lamarr Award. Congratulations to Dean Daley and to our 2023 student stars, Grace MacPherson, and Lily Chen, who are so talented and already well on their way to careers in entertainment technology.”
The awards will be presented during an in-person event in Los Angeles on Nov. 7, near the anniversary of Lamarr’s birth (Nov. 9, 1914).
Austrian American actor Lamarr was a Hollywood legend who is best known for her roles in film classics including Samson and Delilah, The Strange Woman and Tortilla Flat. She was also a lifelong inventor whose innovative work included pioneering “frequency hopping,” which became the foundation for spread spectrum technology. Conceived by Lamarr and composer George Antheil for radio guidance systems and patented in 1942, this highly secure technology resists interference and dropout, and is used today for a variety of cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth applications.
To honor Lamarr, the Innovation Award seeks to recognize and commemorate female industry leaders who have made a similar impact in the field of entertainment technology. Past honorees include Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; Nonny de la Peña, CEO of Emblematic Group; Dean Willow Bay of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism; Sara DeWitt, VP of PBS Kids Digital; Poppy Crum, former chief scientist at Dolby Laboratories; and Paulette Pantoja, founder & CEO of Blu Digital Group.
To determine the award winners, DEG enlisted industry leaders including members of its Canon Club Advisory Board, which comprises a cross-section of senior executives representing the entertainment, technology, IT, and consumer electronics industries. Among other factors, the judging panel based its decisions on the candidates’ embodiment of the following principles: innovation, engagement and excellence.