Spielberg was set to receive the honor Sunday at the Golden Globe Awards, but the event has been scaled down from its traditional scope and size to a news conference because of the Writers Guild of America strike against producers. The WGA said it would picket the ceremony if it was produced by a struck company, Dick Clark Productions, or televised by a struck company, NBC.
The Screen Actors Guild announced its members would not cross a picket line to present or collect awards.
Instead, the HFPA will announce its Golden Globe winners at a televised press conference Sunday in Beverly Hills, Calif.
E! Online said the HFPA has decided to postpone the presentation of the special award to Spielberg until 2009, when he might be able to receive the award amid the pageantry of a traditional Globes ceremony.
Among Spielberg's many critically acclaimed and popular films are "Schindler's List," "Jurassic Park," the Indiana Jones movies and "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial."