George Lucas movies frequently attain great commercial success, and there is no doubt that his movies are fan favorites. The films are often filled with dazzling special effects. Over the years, nearly every special effects award has been won by a Lucas film, but his movies usually come up short in the acting, directing and writing categories.
The first award that Lucas ever won was a for his student film, The Electronic Labyrinth: THX-1138 4EB. He later took this short film and transformed it into a feature-length movie, THX-1138. The theatrical version failed to win any awards, but you'll see some of the special effects techniques that Lucas later used in Star Wars in this movie.
American Graffiti, Lucas' 1973 film about the teenage culture of the 1950s, was a low-budget movie that became a box office hit. The film took home a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture-Musical/Comedy, and Lucas was honored with Best Screenplay from both the New York Film Critics' and the National Society of Film Critics. Lucas was nominated for Oscars for Best Film Editing, Best Screenplay and Best Director, but the film failed to take home any Academy Awards.
Star Wars was only the third feature film in Lucas' career, but it is his most iconic. It not only broke box office records, but it also garnered seven Academy Awards. It won for Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Visual Effects, Best Film Editing, Best Music and Best Sound among others. Sound designer Ben Burtt was also given a special achievement award for creating the alien voices and space battle sound effects.
To achieve all the shots he needed for the futuristic film, Lucas created the visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic. This company remains a premiere visual effects studio and has won numerous awards for its work through the years.
The second Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back, won an Oscar for Best Sound and a Special Achievement award for Visual Effects. Return of the Jedi also won a Special Achievement award for Visual Effects.
The Indiana Jones Trilogy, which Lucas co-wrote executive produced, won a combined total of eight academy awards. Raiders of the Lost Ark won awards for Best Visual Effects, Best Film Editing, Best Sound and Best Art Direction. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom won Best Visual Effects. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade won for Best Sound Effects Editing, and Sean Connery won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
Surprisingly, none of the Star Wars prequels took home Oscars for visual effects or sound, even though they made pioneering use of digital recording and special effects. Lucas has seldom strayed from special-effects movies since the success of Star Wars, but his 1988 film Tucker, the Man and His Dream, proved a favorite with critics. The film won a BAFTA Award for production design, and Martin Landau won a Golden Globe and Chicago Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor.