Bafta to honour Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy with fellowship

By Laura Harding, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy will be given Bafta’s highest honour at its annual film awards on Sunday.

The influential Star Wars producer, who is considered to be one of the most powerful women in Hollywood, will be given the Bafta Fellowship.

She has been president of Lucasfilm since its acquisition by Disney in 2012, and has since produced some of the most successful films of all time, including The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and Rogue One, as well as Jurassic Park, ET The Extra Terrestrial, the Back To The Future trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Gremlins and The Goonies.

She is best known for her work with directors such as Steven Spielberg, David Fincher, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Robert Zemeckis, JJ Abrams, Julian Schnabel, Marjane Satrapi, M Night Shyamalan, Frank Oz, Peter Bogdanovich, and Richard Donner.

She co-founded production company Amblin Entertainment alongside Spielberg and her husband Frank Marshall in 1981, and in 1992 the couple founded The Kennedy/Marshall Company, which has produced films including The Sixth Sense, The Bourne Identity and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.

As president of Lucasfilm, Kennedy now oversees the company’s three divisions: production company Lucasfilm, visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic and sounds effects company Skywalker Sound.

Previous recipients of the fellowship include Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Sir Alfred Hitchcock, Dame Elizabeth Taylor, Stanley Kubrick, Billy Wilder, Ken Loach, Sir Michael Caine, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Lord Laurence Olivier and Dame Judi Dench.

When the news was first announced, she said: “British film-making has always played a significant role in both my life and career. The boundless creative vision of artists such as Tom Stoppard, David Lean, Chris Nolan, Stephen Daldry and Peter Morgan continues to inspire me.

“The recent Star Wars movies – all shot on sound stages and locations across the UK – are just the latest opportunities that I’ve had the privilege to work with British crews and film-makers, which began in 1980 with Raiders Of The Lost Ark and continued with Temple Of Doom, Empire Of The Sun, Young Sherlock Holmes, War Horse, The Adventures Of Tintin, and others.

“I am deeply honoured to receive the Fellowship from Bafta and am incredibly thankful to have worked with so many talented members of our extended family in the British film-making community.”

Last year, the fellowship was awarded to film editor Thelma Schoonmaker, who has worked on more than 20 films alongside Scorsese.

Kennedy will be presented with the Bafta Fellowship at the EE British Academy film awards at the Royal Albert Hall on February 2.