George Lucas and Kathy Kennedy are set to receive a very prestigious award recognizing their numerous contributions to the film industry, as the Producers Guild of America will present them with the 2022 Milestone Award at the 33rd Producers Guild Awards on March 19.
The award is described as the PGA’s “highest honor” and it is being given to recognize Lucas and Kennedy both individually and for their collective leadership of Lucasfilm, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Past recipients have included Walt Disney, Steven Spielberg, Bob Iger, Clint Eastwood, Ron Howard, and more.
“Together, George and Kathleen have carved out a fantastic empire of entertainment that inspires and entertains billions, all with the highest levels of both creative and technical achievement,” said PGA presidents Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher in a joint statement. “What George has built through his movies and through Lucasfilm has enriched every facet of filmmaking, and his colossal creativity and technical genius amazed the world. Kathleen has ascended to the highest levels of our industry, facing ever-changing challenges each time she succeeded in producing one of the brilliant and boundary breaking films she is known for. And since joining Lucasfilm as president, she has expertly exalted its IP to be even more influential and treasured around the world.”
Lucasfilm was founded by George Lucas in 1971 as a way to produce quality films apart from the traditional studio structure, and Lucas would go on to create and produce some of the most influential and lasting brands in movie history, including the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. As one of the most brilliant creative minds in the business, Lucas took the world by storm with the release of Star Wars in 1977, and that storm hasn’t yet died down. But Lucas was also one of the most ambitious filmmakers in the business as well, and he pioneered many revolutionary advances, especially with his visual effects branch, Industrial Light & Magic.
Lucas said in a statement that the award is a “celebration of all that goes into bringing stories to life across a lifetime — protecting creativity while balancing business, moving technology forward to make real what you can see in your mind’s eye and doing it all from scratch most of the time. Being recognized alongside my longtime friend and fellow producer Kathleen Kennedy makes this honoring of our shared and individual works even more meaningful.”
In a monumental move in 2012, George Lucas handed leadership of the company over to a longtime friend and collaborator, Kathleen Kennedy. She was Lucas’s hand-picked successor, and she had already developed a reputation in Hollywood as one of the most successful producers in the business, producing hits such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Jurassic Park while also working closely with Lucas and Steven Spielberg on the Indiana Jones films. Kennedy took over as Lucasfilm’s President, and shortly thereafter Lucas sold the company to the Walt Disney Company. Kennedy has successfully led Lucasfilm through that transition, through the triumphant return of the Skywalker Saga, through the first live-action Star Wars films that were not a part of the main saga, and through the launch of the first live-action Star Wars series and the debut of Disney+. Under her skilled leadership, a new golden era of Star Wars has been ushered in.
Kennedy said in a statement that, “I am very honored to share this award with George Lucas who has inspired a generation of filmmakers who were coming of age, not only through his storytelling but through technological innovation that unlocked our imagination.”
And so, for their collective leadership of Lucasfilm, and for their massive individual contributions to the film industry as well, Lucas and Kennedy are being honored together with the Producers Guild’s most prestigious award. It’s an incredibly well-deserved honor, and it’s awesome that it is being bestowed on the two of them together!