Chairman's Award Awarded to Lizie Gower

Written by
Jonathan Glazer
Director, Academy

The recipient of this year’s Chairman’s Award is an industry brand, street and peninsula. 

Lizie Gower started her climb to the summit, from a single desk in 1985... with one director.

Here we sit, 32 years later, to honour a woman still at the top of her game. 

I joined Academy back in 1993 when it was a two-room office above a music shop in Golden Square. Lizie, with my then producer Nick Morris, helped nurture those early opportunities for me, surrounding me with support and advice, which, even now as her partner, I enjoy to this day. 

People rarely leave Academy. There’s a reason for that. We know we work with a remarkable person of exacting standards who encourages us to expect the best from ourselves. There is no better teacher. 

Academy by name and by nature, she has cultivated a family environment, and has, in turn, been rewarded with loyalty and friendship from top to bottom. Her enthusiasm for great work and passion for discovering the next ‘big thing’ still burns just as brightly now as it did back then. 

She has faith in youth. Never more excited than when mentoring a director’s first steps, or taking a bright receptionist or runner under her wing, to, in time, send them out into the world as the industry’s finest producers. 

She’s our matriarch. Our guide. Head of the tribe. The Alex Ferguson of production companies. Partial to the same ‘hairdryer treatment’ from time to time, but never unfair. She’s stoic, she’s honest. Intuitive. Tenacious. Determined. She’s the type of person who would have succeeded in any business she went into. 

Through her long-standing role on the board of the APA, she fights hard for fairness, not only for her own company but for the production industry as a whole. She is widely and rightly respected for her achievements. 

She’s a loving, single mum of two boys, both a credit to her. She has a very close, long-standing group of friends. She’s an amazing hostess. She’s extremely generous and kind. She shares what she’s built. She’s fiery. She’s shy. She loves a laugh. And a bet. She loves her food, her wine and all of us. 

She’s alright. Supporting Chelsea is her only significant misstep. 

I wouldn’t have the opportunities I do today were it not for her. She’s my partner, my counsel and my friend.