The duo accepted the Milestone Award from their frequent collaborator at Saturday’s 33rd Producers Guild Awards.
Introducing the pair, longtime collaborator Spielberg, who has worked with both Lucas and Kennedy for decades, said: “I feel even in this room, we need to define what producers do. 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 finshed his introduction by noting “these two titans are still just like kids playing in a sandbox. So it is one plus one equals 175. That’s the number of projects they have together and apart: 175. Because their singular talents combined are all in the pursuit of creating new stories. New stories that have enriched the art form, driven our culture forward and inspired new generations to tell their own stories. They are and always will be the force to be reckoned with.”
In her acceptance speech, Kennedy recalled that she met Spielberg and Lucas at the “dawning of a new age” for the film industry. “We worked side by side through one revolution in our industry after another — revolutions not only in the means of moviemaking, and in the ways movies reach audiences, but also in the composition of our business,” she said. “As women, artists of color, LGBTQ and differently labeled artists and producers who have fought for and won a place at the table, propelling our community toward a more inclusive, diverse, richer, more sophisticated and nuanced sense of our responsibilities for social, racial and economic justice. There’s no one that I would rather share this moment with more than my friend, my mentor and the greatest master Jedi of them all: George.”
In Lucas’s acceptance speech, he thanked his former mentor Francis Ford Coppola before giving speaking about the producer’s role in filmmaking. “To me, that’s the first and foremost job of a producer, which is to do the impossible. And you do it every single day. And then every single day, something comes along to destroy everything you’ve done. And you have to pick it all up at lunch, and figure out a new way to finish the movie, in conjunction with the director, and it’s daunting to say the least. But a producer never works alone. One, you have to have a great crew. I’ve always had the best crews,” he said. “I couldn’t have done it without them. And so I think my job also is to gather them all together and inspire them to be the best they can be.”
The Milestone Award comes as Lucasfilm celebrates its 50th anniversary. Lucas created the production company in the 1970s, and it’s best known for spawning the hit franchises Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Kennedy, the company’s president, also created Amblin Entertainment with Spielberg and Frank Marshall, and worked on films such as E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park and the Back to the Future films. Lucas is known for directing the Star Wars films, as well as creating the Lucasfilm empire and producing for other great directors including Coppola, Spielberg and Akira Kurosawa.
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