Hollywood was on its best behavior last night at the AFI’s Life Achievement Award to-do for composer John Williams at The Dolby. Even Harrison Ford, sometimes an 8 on the surly-scale, had glowing things to say about the 50-time Oscar nominee who has composed some of the most iconic movie themes of the last four decades. Williams is the guy behind Darth Vader’s Imperial March, Indiana Jones’s “Da Da DunDa”, and the theme to the Harry Potter films that always gives me goose bumps. The “AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to John Williams” airs on TNT next week on June 15 at 10 p.m. PT. Here are a few not-to-miss moments:
Idina Menzel kills it
The show opens with Will Ferrell conducting Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. He tries to get Drew Barrymore and Harrison Ford to sing. Then he succeeds in getting Cloris Leachman and Idina Menzel to try an contact the aliens. Menzel is worth tuning in for.
Steven Spielberg is strangely nervous
Spielberg has known Williams since the director did his first feature. They have collaborated on 27 films across 43 years— including E.T., Jaws, Schindler’s List, Munich. He is a man who rarely gets the jitters…until now. “Without John Williams, bikes don’t really fly, nor do brooms in Quidditch matches, nor do men in red capes,” he said with a shaky voice. “There is no Force; dinosaurs do not walk the earth; we do not wonder; we do not weep; we do not believe.”
Drew Barrymore is a kid again
Barrymore was 7-years-old when Spielberg cast her as Gertie in E.T. Last night she came onstage, a long ponytail swinging behind her Jan Brady-style to say, “Music reminds us that the sense of wonder that transports us to a time when we’d look at something and say, ‘Holy shit! That was amazing!!’”
Kobe Bryant returns
Why was the recently retired Laker at a Lifetime Achievement Award for John Williams? Because, he’s a fan. Bryant choose Darth Vader’s Imperial March for his first game back after tearing his achilles tendon.
He was also the most popular man in the Dolby stopping for pics with fans the minute he would get up.
Harrison Ford acts jovial
Harrison Ford showed up looking a little more Obi-Wan than Han Solo and cracked jokes. TNT will probably keep his colonoscopy one-liner in the broadcast, since it was pretty tame. He started up after they played the Indiana Jones theme music for his entrance, “That damned music follows me everywhere,” he crabbed. “It’s played every time I walk on the stage and every time I walk off a stage. It’s worse than that. It was playing in the operating room when I went in for my colonoscopy.”