Lucas adds it all up

Helmer nabs AFI lifetime achievement honors

HOLLYWOOD — “I am honored but a little bewildered,” AFI life achievement recipient George Lucas said at Thursday’s AFI dinner in his honor.

“If you count ‘Star Wars’ as one film, I’ve only made three movies,” he said. “I’m now ahead of Terry Malick for most praise for the fewest movies.”

If the AFI’s 33rd annual kudocast proved anything, it was that directing one film like “Star Wars” is more than enough achievement.

Evening began with remarks from AFI chair Howard Stringer and director Jean Picker Firstenberg. After dinner, when the program began, it was clear that AFI’s big night has evolved into something geared to TV.

Opening speaker William Shatner pretended he was mistakenly at a “Star Trek” convention. He was joined onstage by imperial stormtroopers doing a Rockettes-style song-and-dance routine. The evening saw nods to “American Graffiti” and “THX-1138” (and even, briefly, “Howard the Duck”), but it was “Star Wars” that drew the lion’s share of attention.

Key speakers were Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher; award presentation was made by Steven Spielberg.

The Microsoft-sponsored dinner netted a record-setting $2 million-plus.

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