Directors Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and J.J. Abrams all turned out at the American Film Institute’’s 44th Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute to honor composer John Williams.

John Williams’ AFI Tribute

Spielberg, Lucas and Abrams have all worked with Williams. They were three of many men and women who took the stage during the tribute ceremony to honor Williams and reflect upon his many years of amazing work. Abrams, the youngest of the trio, recently worked with Williams on Star Wars: the Force Awakens.

“‘Oh Angel, I just hope this cue is good enough.’ These are the kinds of preposterous things that John Williams says at his own scoring sessions,” Abrams said. “It’s like he’s never read his own resume. He’s the sweetest superhero of all time.”

Abrams may not have even gotten the chance to work with Williams on a Star Wars films had he not created such a powerful score for the original film helmed by Lucas.

Star Wars was meant to be a simple heroes journey, a fantasy for young people. But then John’s music raised the film to an art that would stand the test of time,” Lucas said in his tribute speech. “I had so many ideas for other movies, but I never got to them because you ensured that Star Wars would live forever.”

As for Spielberg, over the course of 43 years, he’s worked with Williams on 27 films, including Jaws. “When he played it for me the first time on a piano, he had a big old grin, and I thought he was joking,” Spielberg said of the Jaws theme. “He wasn’t.”

Spielberg went on to reference Williams’ scores for E.T., the Harry Potter films, superhero flicks, Star Wars and Jurassic Park saying, “Without John Williams, bikes don’t fly and neither do brooms in Quidditch matches nor do men in red capes. There is no Force, dinosaurs do not walk the earth. We do not wonder, we do not weep, we do not believe.”

Williams is a five-time Oscar winner, who has been nominated 50 times over the course of his career. On Thursday, he became the first composure to be honored by the American Film Institute with a lifetime achievement award.

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