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Freeman to accept first Oxford American award

February 3, 2010

Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman will accept The Oxford American’s inaugural award for Outstanding Contributions to Southern Culture at the magazine’s first-ever Best of the South Gala in Little Rock on Saturday, April 3, 2010.

Freeman was nominated this morning for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Nelson Mandela in the film “Invictus”.

“We are very pleased that Morgan Freeman will be the first recipient of this award, which we hope will create a long-standing pantheon of great Southern cultural figures,” said Warwick Sabin, the publisher of The Oxford American.  “He was our first choice for this recognition, not only because of his remarkable career and accomplishments, but because he has remained involved with his community in Mississippi and has done so much to improve it.”

In addition, The Oxford American announced that is attaching a new $10,000 prize to its award for Lifetime Achievement in Southern Literature, which also will be presented at the Best of the South Gala.  The first award was bestowed in 2006 to the novelist Donald Harington, who recently passed away.  This year’s winner will be named in the coming weeks.

The entire Capital Hotel — including all of the public and private rooms — are reserved for this special event.  Only a limited number of tickets will be available for the evening, which will include a pre-event VIP reception, a cocktail reception, a four-course dinner, and a special awards program featuring celebrity entertainment.  The food will be curated by John T. Edge (the James Beard award-winning expert on Southern cuisine), and prepared by Lee Richardson, the Capital Hotel’s executive chef.

“We envision a lively and fun event that reflects the character and personality of The Oxford American, highlighting music, literature, food, art, and other creative expressions of Southern culture,” Sabin said.  “It will be a sophisticated and entertaining affair anchored by celebrity presenters.”

Cindy and Chip Murphy and Riley Lipschitz are chairing the awards gala, which will raise money to support the operations of the magazine, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  Tickets begin at $500, and tables of ten also can be purchased.

Glazer’s is the gala wine and spirits sponsor.

More details about the event available at

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