George Lucas has finally been awarded with the 2012 National Medal of Arts. During the ceremony at the White House on Wednesday, July 10, the 69-year-old director got a big hug and smile from President Barack Obama, who presented a dozen National Medals of Arts and another dozen National Humanities Medals to the selected honorees including soprano Renee Fleming and author Ernest Gaines.
"American philosopher Will Durant once wrote, 'The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.' And that's an extraordinary skill ... to make it look like those planes in space are actually flying like they are," Obama said to laugh. "I remember when I first saw 'Star Wars'. There's a whole generation that thinks special effects always look like they do today. But it used to be .. like the string on the little model spaceships."
According to the award citation, Lucas earned the top honor for having "transported us to new worlds and created some of the most beloved and iconic films of all time" by "combining the art of storytelling with boundless imagination and cutting-edge techniques."
It is his latest recognition of his contributions to the movie industry. The creator of "Indiana Jones" previously received the Nora Zarky Humanitarian Award at the 2013 Crystal + Lucy Awards for his educational advocacy and overall support of women.
Also named the recipients of National Medals of Arts were "Angels in America" playwright Tony Kushner and comedy actress Elaine May.