George Lucas, Cicely Tyson receive Kennedy Center Honors

7 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

George Lucas honoured at Kennedy Centre gala.

T he Kennedy Center Honors launched a new era Sunday night with the debut of a production team that updated the show while remaining true to many of its long-standing traditions. As the tribute to Lucas began at Sunday night’s gala honouring him and four others for contributing to American culture through the arts, the crowd was asked to welcome Carrie Fisher.The Scandal star, 38, proved that title right in her strapless black corset gown that featured blue feather details around the bust and fit snugly to the hips before flaring out into a decadently long train.

Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, fellow directors who along with Lucas brought new energy to American cinema in the 1970s, offered more conventional tributes to the “Star Wars” creator, hailing him for his technological wizardry and his commitment to storytelling. With a sleek contemporary design and faster pace, the 38th annual national celebration of the arts honored singer-songwriter Carole King, filmmaker George Lucas, actress-singer Rita Moreno, conductor Seiji Ozawa and actress Cicely Tyson.

The couple, who share a 20-month-old daughter named Isabelle, wed in a hush-hush June 24 ceremony in Hailey, Idaho after dating a year, reported at the time. ‘One of the most profound things for me about [Scandal] is the number of white women of all ages who come up to me and say “I want to be Olivia Pope,”‘ Kerry told ‘s August issue. ‘The fact that white women can see this woman of color as an aspirational character is revolutionary… I don’t think white women would feel that way about Olivia if her identity as a woman, period, wasn’t first in their mind.’ Jane The Virgin star Gina Rodriguez showed off plenty of cleavage in a black gown decorated with a double network of red flowers while Viola Davis delighted in her black top and red and fuchsia skirt. Lucas also created the “Indiana Jones” franchise, directed by Spielberg, and his special-effects company, Industrial Light & Magic, had a part in seven of the top 10 grossing movies of all time. “He’s a pathfinder and a pioneer like Edison and Bell and Tesla and Jobs,” Spielberg said. “George Lucas’ ‘Star Wars’ absolutely changed films forever.” “The Force Awakens,” the seventh movie in the franchise and the first made without Lucas’ involvement as director, producer or writer, opens Dec. 18 and is expected to be one of the highest-grossing films in history.

The White House first announced that he would cancel his yearly appearance in lieu of a televised address to the nation on terrorism and gun control, but in a show of resilience against those wishing to dampen the nation’s spirits, Mr. The event served to honor those who ‘represent the voices, soundtracks, and stories of our personal lives and memories,’ Kennedy Center Chairman David M.

As the crowd of Washington power brokers and Hollywood celebrities stood and applauded, Lucas waved from a balcony, wearing the honorees’ signature rainbow-colored garland. Obama arrived to a standing ovation just after intermission. “He had a very important message to give tonight about the terrorist and the gun situation,” said Carole King, reflecting on meeting Mr. Instead, producers Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment offered snippets of the private White House reception that preceded the performance and personal tributes from a roster of superstars. Although it is tradition for the artists to sit with the president and first lady as the performances unfold, the duties fell solely on the shoulders of Michelle Obama for the first part of the event.

President Barack Obama was a late arrival to the event after delivering a rare televised address in which he said America would overcome the threat posed by Islamic State militants. President Obama, who addressed the nation from the Oval Office at 8 p.m., arrived during intermission and was introduced at the beginning of the second act.

Moreno, a native of Puerto Rico who started dancing at age 9, became the first Latina to win an Academy Award when she was honored for her performance as Anita in “West Side Story.” She was honored for her diverse and boundary-pushing career, including memorable stints on children’s television. Members of the rock band the Eagles had also been chosen to receive honors at this year’s ceremony, but deferred acceptance until 2016 after one of them, the guitarist Glenn Frey, had to undergo surgery in November. Tyson, a longtime star of stage and screen, has said the honor validated her decision to turn down many roles as she tried to find meaningful work as a black woman. Her memorable performances include “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” which won her an Emmy, and the groundbreaking miniseries “Roots.” She won a lead-actress Tony just two years ago and now, at age 90, she’s starring on Broadway alongside James Earl Jones in “The Gin Game.” “She turned down more roles than you could imagine because they didn’t lift or serve us as a people,” actor-director Tyler Perry said. “For six decades, she has been diligent in her pursuit to better us all.” Ozawa, who was born in China to Japanese parents, began conducting as a teenager in Japan after World War II. For example, Colbert pointed out, the Honorees would remain in the balcony with the first lady for the duration of the show. “They don’t have to do anything tonight other than sit there and listen,” he said. “We could say nice things about them, we could say terrible things about them.

Point is: They can’t leave.” Gina Rodriguez, who plays Moreno’s granddaughter on TV’s “Jane the Virgin,” offered a tearful tribute to the actress, who has won a Tony, Oscar, two Emmys and a Grammy. Violinist Itzhak Perlman and soprano Renee Fleming paid tribute to him during Sunday’s honors, which also included a performance by past honoree Yo-Yo Ma. Actress Rosie Perez re-created Moreno’s award-winning duet with Animal, the Muppet, and Broadway star and “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda congratulated his brutally honest friend. “She commands our attention, she speaks up for us, she tells the truth,” he said. King was inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame nearly 30 years ago for her broad influence on pop music, which helped shape the sounds of the 1960s and 70s.

Moreno showed her that Puerto Rican girls can be on TV too. “A 15-year-old girl from Chicago who hadn’t seen a Puerto Rican represented on screen once asked her mother, ‘Mom, when did Puerto Ricans come about?’” She continued: “‘I never see us on my favorite TV shows or movies — we must not have existed back then, right?’ And then, she introduced me to you.” The weekend’s celebration started with a black-tie dinner at the State Department on Saturday, which offered the Capital a rare brush with a different kind of celebrity. Sipping cocktails in the gilded reception rooms before dinner, members of Congress, the cabinet and at least one Supreme Court justice mingled with actors, musicians and philanthropists from New York and Los Angeles, many making sure to record the occasion with a snapshot or two.

Fleming introduced a lengthy video clip of Ozawa conducting “our cellist in chief” Yo-Yo Ma before the 2007 Honoree appeared onstage to perform with string musicians from the Tanglewood Music Center. The conductor decided he didn’t want anything on the menu, so he called a nearby Japanese joint and had sushi delivered — to the Chinese place. “That’s chutzpah,” Perlman said.

In a nod to “Star Wars,” a hologram of actress Carrie Fisher introduced the salute to director Lucas, who was commended for both his storytelling skills and his technological genius. Steven Spielberg, a 2006 Honoree, compared the creator of the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” series to “Edison, Bell, Tesla and Jobs,” saying he changed movies forever. Martin Scorsese spoke of Lucas’s many obsessions — cars, movies about cars, education, music — and then introduced the orchestra, which played a medley of music from those films as scenes were screened. Singer CeCe Winans provided the evening’s emotional highlight by singing the “Bountiful” hymn with the choir from the Cicely Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts in East Orange, N.J. Kerry, a friend of King’s, introduced the final segment, celebrating King’s songwriting success, environmental activism and civic engagement. “Carole’s career is literally nothing short of astounding.

To write one hit is impressive, but as Stephen Colbert reminded us earlier, Carole wrote more than a hundred,” Kerry said. “Simply put, Carole King’s music became the soundtrack for a generation.” In a rousing finale, the cast of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” provided a live biography of King. Rocker Janelle Monae performed “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” and “One Fine Day,” and Sara Bareilles offered her version of “You’ve Got a Friend.” But even King’s jaw dropped when Aretha Franklin came onstage, sat at a piano and belted out “(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman,” her 1967 hit penned by King and her songwriting partner Gerry Goffin.

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