John Williams Receives AFI Lifetime Achievement Award. George Lucas Retires from Filmmaking.
At a ceremony in Los Angeles last night, John Williams became the first ever composer to receive AFI’s lifetime achievement award. The star studded affair celebrated Williams 150+ composing credits and celebrated a man who has had an immeasurable impact on the world of film. Variety has a story this morning on the events of the night.
John Williams needs no real introduction on a Star Wars site. Everyone reading here should have an appreciation for his genius. Whether it is his iconic and much loved work on Star Wars, one of his 27 collaborations with Steven Spielberg, or any of the other pieces of cinema he has seen fit to elevate with his work, we are all well aware of what he has meant to Hollywood during his career.
But, this was an event for Williams to be recognized and celebrated by those he has worked with over the years. Steven Spielberg was on hand with a super-8 behind the scenes reel of a Williams scoring session for E.T from way back in 1982. George Lucas was also there to put Williams’ impact on Star Wars into context.
Speaking of “Star Wars,” Lucas noted it was Williams’ music that helped turn a film “meant to be a fantasy for young people” into a culture-shaking franchise, telling the composer, “You made my life so easy. I had so many ideas for other movies, but I never had to get around to them thanks to ‘Star Wars.’”
Many stars were also in attendance as well illustrating the many different films and actors he has worked with or influenced over the years. People such as Tom Hanks, Drew Barrymore, Will Ferrell, and Idina Menzel took the stage to honor Williams. But no one said it better than Harrison Ford.
From Variety on Ford’s Presentation:
Yet some of the night’s most appreciative words came from Ford, dyspepsia and all, as he called music “the salt-and-pepper of film, the adjustment to taste at the pivotal moment.”Going back to “Raiders,” Ford introduced a clip of the film’s mournful “Marion’s Theme,” and explained how unusual it was that the theme isn’t first heard upon the character’s first appearance, but rather later on, when Indiana Jones believes her to be dead.
“This is an example of entertainment elevated to the level of art,” Ford said. “John, you’re a genius.”
Williams also revealed (via Variety) that:
he plans to begin work on Spielberg’s next film, “Ready Player One,” in November, and then next year expects to do the next “Star Wars” film. “If I can do it, I certainly will. I told Kathy Kennedy I’m happy to do it, but the real reason is, I didn’t want anybody else writing music for Daisy Ridley.”.
Congratulations to Mr. Williams on this great achievement. It goes without saying that Star Wars fans everywhere find you very well deserving.
But the biggest news at the event came from George Lucas.
Lucas tells me “I have retired from making films.” He’s putting all his energy into building The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago with wife Mellody Hobson. “We’ve been working on it for six years.” Lucas has made great films apart from “Star Wars”– “American Graffiti” is an American classic. His place in movie history is secure.
This is actually the first time that Lucas officially states his retirement. In the past he was saying that he have plans for smaller movies, but obviously he’s now done with it.
We at SWNN wish Mr. Lucas the best of luck with his Lucas Museum and any future projects.
You can watch the tribute to John Williams on TNT Drama June 15 at 10 pm ET/PT
— AFI (@AmericanFilm) June 10, 2016