On Saturday night, the Producers Guild Awards presented the prestigious Milestone Award to George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy for their contributions to filmmaking.
The Producers Guild describes the Milestone Award as a recognition for a person’s “historic contribution to the motion picture industry,” stating that it is “the Guild’s highest honor.” Past recipients of the Award have included luminaries such as Walt Disney, Steven Spielberg, Bob Iger, and many others. Lucas and Kennedy take their rightful place in that company, honored for their impact on filmmaking – including, of course, on one of Hollywood’s most influential and beloved franchises, Star Wars.
Lucas founded Lucasfilm and built it into a significant empire that includes ILM and more, and he created Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and more. Kennedy was a successful producer in her own right, working on films like E.T. the Extra-Terestrial, Jurassic Park, and Indiana Jones, and Lucas chose her to succeed him as Lucasfilm’s President. Since then, Kennedy has expanded the Star Wars universe with five more films, several new shows, and much more. Their receiving this award also corresponds to Lucasfilm’s 50th Anniversary, honoring the two people to have led the company in its influential history.
At the dinner where the award was officially presented, Steven Spielberg – a longtime friend of the two honorees and a filmmaking legend himself, – introduced them and shared some things, including clarifying what producers even do and therefore what Lucas and Kennedy are being honored for. “I feel even in this room, we need to define what producers do,” Spielberg said. “Producers do whatever the hell it takes. Courage and imagination and utter lack of intimidation, the producer needs to know everybody’s jobs, and not how to do them, but how they are done well, which is what makes George and Kathy so deserving of this recognition.”
He’s right, and it’s pretty cool to see George Lucas and Kathy Kennedy receive this award together. They are individually some of the most respected and accomplished filmmakers in history, and together they make up the leadership of Lucasfilm for its entire history, guiding the Star Wars franchise as it continued to grow, as it does to this day.