Singer-songwriter Carole King and Star Wars creator George Lucas are among the 2015 recipients of the coveted Kennedy Center Honors awards. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Singer-songwriter Carole King, Star Wars creator George Lucas and actress Cicely Tyson descended on Washington on Sunday (December 6) to be feted for their contributions to the arts as the latest recipients of the coveted Kennedy Center Honors awards. Joined by actress Rita Moreno and conductor Seiji Ozawa, the artists began a night of celebrations at the White House, where President Barack Obama lauded their accomplishments over decades. Later, they arrived at the Kennedy Center for the main event. King, a Grammy award winner known for hit songs such as "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" and "Natural Woman," said she relished being part of the Kennedy Center Honors club. "It's a pretty great honor and I'm in amazing company, not only the current honorees, but the past honorees. I mean, there's a long list, so I'm really thrilled to be in that company," she said on the red carpet. Reflecting on his storied career as a filmmaker, Lucas said the best part was being able to touch children's' lives. "I enjoy inspiring kids," he said. "You know, kids be wide-eyed at the movies and...stimulate their imagination and their creative juices," added Lucas, who was accompanied by his wife Mellody Hobson. Ozawa said that despite the many awards he had received over the years, the Kennedy Center Honors were "a new experience." "You know, [in] my kind of profession, [the] orchestra is [the] most important member," he said. "So I receive this with my colleagues in the orchestra." Several past Kennedy Center honorees were also-on hand to celebrate this year's recipients, including Herbie Hancock, who received the award in 2013, and singer Aretha Franklin, who received it in 1994. "Every year I'm always surprised by the performances that honor their honorees. But the people that are being honored this time are special. I mean, every one of them is special," said Hancock. "Every one has brought something to -- not just entertainment -- but to humanity." Franklin said she was looking forward to being one of the performers this year. "What a good time I've had thus far -- the honorees, the White House, everything has been so special and spectacular," she said before rushing to her dressing room to prepare. Toward the end of the night, she brought the audience to their feet with a rendition of King's "Natural Woman". The day was overshadowed in some ways by the recent attacks in California and Paris. Obama missed part of the Kennedy Center performance itself to make a rare address to the nation from the Oval Office. The artists kicked off the festivities on Saturday night (December 5) at the State Department with a dinner and toasts from their friends and contemporaries. The 38th Kennedy Center Honors will be broadcast on CBS on December 29.