The President and Mrs. Obama received the Honorees, as well as members of the Artists Committee who nominated them and the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees, at the White House prior to the gala performance on Dec. 2. The 2012 Kennedy Center Honors Gala concluded with a dinner dance in the Grand Foyer.
The Honors recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts - whether in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television - and are selected by the Center's Board of Trustees. The primary criterion in the selection process is excellence. The Honors are not designated by art form or category of artistic achievement; the selection process, over the years, has produced balance among the various arts and artistic disciplines.
Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser expressed the national cultural center's continued gratitude to the many individuals involved in the success of the Honors program. "In addition to recognizing some of the world's most treasured artists, the Kennedy Center Honors supports a wide variety of artistic programming, as well as the Center's educational and national outreach efforts."
George Stevens, Jr. will produce and co-write the Honors for the 35th year. Stevens and his Honors producing partner Michael Stevens received three consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Variety, Musical or Comedy Special and are nominated again for the sixth consecutive time. The KENNEDY CENTER HONORS telecast has also been recognized with the Peabody Award for Outstanding Meritorious Service to Broadcasting and seven awards from the Writers Guild of America. Nick Vanoff was co-creator of the Honors with George Stevens in 1978.