J.J. Abrams Accepts Showman of the Year Award at CinemaCon

JJ Abrams and Simon Pegg
J.J. Abrams and Simon Pegg at the 2016 CinemaCon (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images for CinemaCon)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams was named CinemaCon’s Showman of the Year and the busy filmmaker took the stage on April 11, 2016 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas to accept the award from his good friend and frequent collaborator Simon Pegg. Abrams was named Showman of the Year by the National Association of Theatre Owners, and Paramount Pictures Vice-Chairman Rob Moore called him a visionary and a dreamer before bringing Pegg to the stage to finish Abrams’ introduction.

Pegg joked that while most moviegoers know Abrams as a writer, director, and producer, he’s also an actor. But, added Pegg, if you didn’t catch Abrams in Six Degrees of Separation you should consider yourself lucky. There’s apparently a good reason Abrams isn’t widely recognized as an actor. Labeling his friend an epoch defining filmmaker, Pegg described Abrams as a man, a dad, a husband, and a friend – only one of which applies to Pegg and Abrams’ relationship, joking that the two were recently married in a top secret ceremony.

Accepting the award, Abrams said movies have always been an important part of his life. Conceding that he was never athletic or popular, Abrams recalled how films were an escape and how some of his favorite experiences have happened in theaters. He’s living his dream now, being able to stand on the bridge of the Enterprise and take a seat in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, and he’s even embraced 3D technologies after initially being resistant. Abrams urged NATO members to accept new possibilities in the way movies are viewed by audiences, saying, “We have to do everything we can in this age of piracy to adapt.” He added, “There’s nothing better than going to the movies, and there never will be.”

Finishing up his acceptance speech, Abrams thanked both Paramount – the home of most of his films – and Disney. He also said the upcoming Star Trek Beyond, which he’s producing and Justin Lin is directing, will be the most thrilling Star Trek yet.