Kurt Russell, Robert Duvall to Receive Western Heritage Awards at ‘Oscars of the West’

by John Jamison

For their contributions to telling the stories of the American West, actors Kurt Russell and Robert Duvall will be honored by The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Come mid-September, the two figures will be celebrated at the Western Heritage Awards event—referred to as the “Oscars of the West”—in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

At 90 years old, there’s no question that “Lonesome Dove” star Robert Duvall has earned the honor. The ceremony will bestow upon him the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award. Throughout his career, Duvall remained faithful to the Western genre. He starred opposite the likes of Clint Eastwood and Kevin Costner in “Joe Kidd” and “Open Range.” Of course, his role as “Lucky” Ned Pepper in the John Wayne classic “True Grit” is hard to beat.

His career certainly meets the stated purpose of the Western Heritage Awards’ honor.

“The West is more than a geographical location; it is a story we tell. For more than a century, writers, musicians and film producers have interpreted the trials and triumphs of the people who built the American West,” Natalie Shirley, the Museum President told The City Sentinel. “At The Cowboy, we are pleased to honor the work these men and women have done in telling the great stories of the American West.”

By those standards, the iconic Kurt Russell is equally as deserving of his induction into the Hall of Great Western Performers. How can anyone forget his performance as Wyatt Earp in the classic Western “Tombstone“? And Russell has worked in the genre as recently as 2015, starring in both “Bone Tomahawk” and “The Hateful Eight.”

Also receiving a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award is singer, songwriter, and all-around cowboy George Strait. He and Robert Duvall will reportedly receive three-piece silver buckle sets. They come courtesy of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association.

Why The Western Heritage Awards?

First, one has to understand The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Established in 1955, the museum seeks to preserve the legacy of the American West. The Western Heritage Awards ceremony is the vehicle by which The Cowboy recognizes contributions to this end.

“Our institution began as The National Cowboy Hall of Fame over 60 years ago. And we are happy to carry on that legacy through the Western Heritage Awards and through our Museum’s Hall of Great Westerners and Hall of Great Western Performers,” Natalie Shirley added.

Over the years, television and movies have carried on the legacy of the West in popular culture. Their visibility makes them highly effective at doing so. Of course, country music is right there with them. But a museum can’t accomplish that mission on its own. Though, by honoring Kurt Russell, Robert Duvall, and George Strait at the Western Heritage Awards, they recognize those efforts. And the recognition can motivate others to do the same.