The director who rebooted “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” is set to receive kudos for his support and advocacy for women in film and television. J.J. Abrams (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) will receive the Leading Man Award during 2018’s Athena Film Festival, according to THR. The Athena Festival, a celebration of women’s leadership in the entertainment industry, will also be honoring Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple (“American Dream”), director/writer Amma Asante, who helmed “Belle” and was head writer for ABC’s “Brothers and Sisters,” and singer/actor Bridget Everett (“Patti Cake$”).
Abrams joins the likes of Paul Feig (“The Office”) and David Oyelowo (“A United Kingdom”), who previously received the accolade. Athena co-founder Melissa Silverstein praised Abrams for “championing women in the industry throughout his entire career,” where his leadership in the entertainment industry “has continued to push the gender equality conversation.” Fellow co-founder Kathryn Kolbert noted that now is the time to “recognize men who are standing strong with women” and called Abrams a “true ally” to women.
Though the “Star Wars” director is known most recently for his work in sci-fi and fantasy, he originally got his start with his TV series “Felicity,” a coming-of-age story starring Keri Russell (“The Americans”), Scott Foley (“Scandal”), and Scott Speedman (“Last Resort”). Abrams then went on to helm “Alias,” a Golden Globe winning spy drama starring Jennifer Garner (“Dallas Buyers Club”). Most of Abrams’ work features an intelligent, strong female lead who takes center stage.
Abrams said of the honor:
I am deeply humbled to be recognized by the Athena Film Festival. Any good I’ve done has been achieved because I have worked alongside women, and I share my gratitude with all of them for being honored with this award.
The Athena Film Festival will run from Feb. 22-25, 2018, at Barnard College in New York City.
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CLICK THE CATEGORY TO SEE THE OSCAR PREDICTIONS:
| MOTION PICTURE | DIRECTOR |
| LEAD ACTOR | LEAD ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS |
| ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE |
| PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING | SOUND MIXING | SOUND EDITING | VISUAL EFFECTS |
| ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG |
| FOREIGN LANGUAGE | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE |
at the bottom of each award!