Cue the fanfare: Five-time Oscar winner John Williams will be the recipient of the 44th AFI Life Achievement Award at its gala Tribute on June 9 in Los Angeles. It’s the first time that the AFI is honoring a composer.
“John Williams has written the soundtrack to our lives,” Howard Stringer, Chair of the AFI Board of Trustees, said in a statement. “Note by note, through chord and chorus, his genius for marrying music with movies has elevated the art form to symphonic levels and inspired generations of audiences to be enriched by the magic of the movies.”
Williams won Oscars for the scores to Jaws, Star Wars, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Schindler’s List in addition to the adaptation and original song score to 1971’s Fiddler On The Roof. Three of Williams’ scores landed on AFI’s 100 Years of Film Scores; Star Wars topped that list, with Jaws at No. 6 and E.T. as No. 14. Williams had been nominated for an Academy Award in each of the past three years, and his next Oscar nom would be his 50th.
Williams was unable to score Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film Bridge of Spies due to a minor health issue, with Thomas Newman stepping in. It’s the second
first time in their 41-year collaboration that he didn’t score a Spielberg pic after The Color Purple (which had music by Quincy Jones). Williams will reunite with the filmmaker on The BFG next year. The composer returns in December with the score to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
For the fourth year in a row, Turner Broadcasting will air the AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute special with an encore presentation on sister network, Turner Classic Movies (TCM).