Special Awards

The Academy of Country Music® Special Awards are voted on by the ACM Board of Directors and are awarded during years where the board feels there are clear and deserving candidates. Industry Awards, Special Awards and Studio Recording Awards are presented to recipients at ACM Honors, a special event held annually in the fall at the historic Ryman Auditorium.

Click here to view the complete Special Awards & Criteria List

Cliffie Stone Icon Award

This award is presented to a Country Music artist, duo/group or industry leader who throughout their career has advanced the popularity of the genre through their contributions in multiple facets of the industry such as songwriting, recording, production, touring, film, television, literary works, philanthropic contributions and other goodwill efforts.

Joe Galante

Joe Galante

Rascal Flatts

Rascal Flatts


Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award

This award is presented to a Country Music artist, duo/group or industry professional who is devoted to improving lives through the power of music, has a generosity of spirit, and is committed to serving others, voted on by the ACM Lifting Lives Board of Directors.

Lady A

Lady A

Ross Copperman

Ross Copperman


Gene Weed Milestone Award

This award is presented to a Country Music artist, duo/group or industry leader for a specific, unprecedented or outstanding achievement in the field of Country Music during the preceding calendar year.

Luke Combs

Luke Combs

Jim Reeves International Award

This award is presented to an artist or industry leader for outstanding contributions to the acceptance of Country Music throughout the world.

Dan + Shay

Dan + Shay

Mae Boren Axton Service Award

This award is presented to an outstanding Country Music artist, duo/group or industry leader in recognition of years of dedication and service to the Academy of Country Music.

RAC Clark

RAC Clark

Merle Haggard Spirit Award

This award is presented to a singer-songwriter who is continuing the legacy of Country legend and 20-time ACM Award Winner Merle Haggard by following his/her own path, crafting great songs and epitomizing Merle’s spirit through genuine performances and great storytelling.

Toby Keith

Toby Keith

Poet's Award

This award is presented to a Country Music songwriter for outstanding and longstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their career, with special consideration given to a song or songs’ impact on the culture of Country Music.

Curly Putman

Curly Putman

Gretchen Peters

Gretchen Peters

Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn

Tex Ritter Film Award

This award recognizes an outstanding television movie, series or feature film released during the preceding calendar year which prominently features Country Music.

Ken Burns's Country Music

Ken Burns's Country Music

Songwriter of the Year

This award is presented to an individual known predominately as a songwriter, selected by a Professional Panel of judges composed of songwriters, publishers, producers, and performing rights organization representatives.

Hillary Lindsey

Hillary Lindsey