To a certain type of Star Wars viewer, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy is currently public enemy number one for her work on the space saga’s most recent installments. Nonetheless, the producer’s film credits go well beyond her involvement in any one franchise, and in recognition for her 40-plus years in the business, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has presented Kennedy with a lifetime achievement award.
The Irving. G. Thalberg award was handed out in an event on Sunday, and in her acceptance speech, Kennedy took the opportunity to call for more diversity in Hollywood:
“I am very proud to be the first woman to accept this award. But I am also not the first to deserve it and I am 100 percent sure I am not the last”
The producer went on to reflect on the recent strides made in expanding the range of voices heard in the industry, stressing that this diversity can form the basis for further change:
“It is my hope that with the inclusion of these powerful new voices, we might just bring the world back to its senses and maybe, just maybe, shatter a few glass ceilings along the way,”
Back in 1981, Kennedy co-founded Amblin Entertainment with Steven Spielberg and her eventual husband Frank Marshall. Under this production company, Kennedy served as producer for such Spielberg-helmed hits as E.T. the Extra Terrestrial and Jurassic Park. Beyond this, Kennedy has producing credits on a variety of acclaimed and popular works, from The Sixth Sense to The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.
It was only in 2012 that Kennedy took over at Lucasfilm as part of Disney’s acquisition of the property. And despite the occasional sketchy rumor of her departure, Kennedy’s contract at the company was recently extended to 2021. So, regardless of what you think of these last few movies, Star Wars looks like it’s going to remain Kennedy’s world for at least a few more years, with her next project, Star Wars: Episode IX, due for release on December 20th, 2019.