AFI Awards Lunch Brings Out Hollywood’s Heavy Hitters And Contenders For Season’s Ultra-Cool Event

By | Friday January 10, 2014 @ 5:14pm PST
Pete Hammond

AFI Awards 2013“Storytellers, welcome,”  said AFI president and CEO Bob Gazzale as he opened the AFI Awards 2013 luncheon today. “We open each AFI gathering with a single word: ‘Relax’. You have won. Each of you, and more importantly, all of you, because here you are one community of artists gathered in this room for what we hope to be a bit of respite from your job, but not from your work. Gone from this moment are the ratings, and red carpets and box office and all that you have to endure to sell art. Our goal is nothing short of epiphany, that you feel proud when you consider the compendium and see your place in it”. Gazzale’s welcome came before what appeared to be all of the heavy hitters currently running Hollywood as well as 20 tables full of artists repping AFI’s choices for the year’s Top Ten movies (12 Years A Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Fruitvale Station, Gravity, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis,  Nebraska, Saving Mr. Banks, The Wolf Of Wall Street) and Top Ten TV programs (The Americans, Breaking Bad, Game Of Thrones, The Good 14th Annual AFI Awards - Cocktail ReceptionWife, House Of Cards,  Mad Men, Masters Of Sex, Orange Is The New Black, Scandal, Veep).

For my money , this is the most relaxing and fun  awards event of the year. There are no losers, no acceptance speeches, only good vibes. And if you want to network, this is the A-list networking opportunity of the season. Where else are you going to find just about every studio head in the same room including Sony’s Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton, Warner Bros’ Kevin Tsujihara, Fox’s Jim Gianopulos, Disney’s Alan Horn, Paramount’s Brad Grey, and Fox Searchlight’s Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula? They were mixing it it up with the TV side including CBS’ Les Moonves (who also was there for CBS Films’ Inside Llewyn Davis), Fox’s Peter Rice and FX’s John Landgraf, and AMC’s Charlie Collier among many others including new kid on the block Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, who had two shows among the Top Ten, House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black. It was his first time to this party and he was impressed. Oh, and did I mention both directing icons Martin Scorsese (with Wolf Of Wall Street) and Steven Spielberg (repping FX’s The Americans) were there, but quite14th Annual AFI Awards - Cocktail Reception frankly just about everyone in this room at the Four Seasons Hotel was someone. Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs was also taking it all in and told me how she’s suddenly getting lots of calls after it was announced earlier today she would be delivering news of Oscar nominations next Thursday with Thor aka Chris Hemsworth. She’s excited to say the least. Read More »

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AFI Awards 2013: Top 10 Films List Is Good News For Major Studios

By | Monday December 9, 2013 @ 12:01pm PST
Pete Hammond

The American Film Institute jumped into the movie awards season today with the release of their annualThe-logo-for-this-years-AFI-Awards_event_main Movies of the Year list. 12 Years A Slave, American Hustle , Captain Phillips, Fruitvale Station, Gravity, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Saving Mr. Banks and The Wolf Of Wall Street are the 10 films that made the cut. And based on the recent track record AFI has had for correlation between its list and the ultimate Oscar choices for Best Picture, these films should start popping the champagne corks. Last year, AFI matched 8 of 9 Oscar nominees with Amour being the only one it did not have (foreign films are not eligible for AFI’s list). In 2011, there were the same number of matches — though eventual Oscar winner for Best Picture The Artist was a separate “honorable mention” since it also was not eligible due to its French origins. In fact, I would go on to say the AFI list is fast becoming one of the most reliable precursors in predicting the way the Academy will eventually go.

Related: AFI’s Top 10 TV Programs: ‘Homeland’ & ‘Modern Family’ Out

slaveThis year’s list seems to reflect the frontrunners for the most part indicating consensus in a very competitive year. The list is also extremely good news for the major studios, which appear to be very strong in this year’s race with two entries from Sony, two from Paramount, two from Warner Bros and one from Disney. Fox is repped through their Searchlight division by 12 Years A Slave. CBS Films also made the cut for the first time with Inside Llewyn Davis.  The Weinstein Company, usually a larger force , is repped only by their small very indie summer release Fruitvale Station, which so far has been doing very well in the initial awards races.  The Weinsteins’ higher-profile eligible films such as August: Osage County and Lee Daniels’ The Butler are missing from the lineup along with Mandela: Long Walk To Freedominsideellewyn1 and Philomena (which were not eligible —  neither was Weinstein’s Best Pic champ The King’s Speech in 2010, though it got a special mention). Other notable contenders that were eligible that were AWOL at AFI:  All Is Lost, Dallas Buyers Club, Rush , Lone Survivor, Prisoners, Blue Jasmine and Mud to name a few whose Best Picture prospects may have just taken a hit. Well that is if you take these important precursors seriously and it seems by the strong correlation that at least when it comes to AFI the Academy definitely does.

Unlike other groups, AFI does not divide its list which also includes one for the top TV programs of the year into winners and losers but rather as an “almanac documenting works of excellence that mark a moment in time”. AFI also is the only organization honoring the entire creative ensemble of the films which qualify as those that “best advance  the art of the moving image, enhance the rich cultural heritage of America’s art form, inspire audiences and artists alike, and /or make a mark on American society”.

The awards-giving season is now in full swing with weekend results from numerous critics groups including L.A. and Boston and the New York Online Critics with disparate choices that indicate this is a wide open race and anybody’s ballgame as we move into the bigger arenas of the SAG and Golden Globe nominations later this week. Here’s the official AFI  list for film: Read More »

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AFI Awards 2013: ‘Orange Is The New Black’, ‘Masters Of Sex’, ‘House Of Cards’ Among Top 10 TV Programs, ‘Homeland’ & ‘Modern Family’ Out

By | Monday December 9, 2013 @ 12:00pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

The-logo-for-this-years-AFI-Awards_event_mainThere are no hard rules for AFI‘s list of Top 10 programs of the year as the film institute tends to mix critical darlings with crowd pleasers, series, miniseries and TV movies. (Cable ratings juggernauts The Walking Dead and American Horror Story: Asylum made the AFI Awards list last year, along with the HBO movie Game Change). No longform entries on this year’s list, which features one major surprise — the omission of ABC’s Emmy-winning Modern Family, KERRY WASHINGTONwhich had been among AFI’s  Top 10 programs each of the past four years. Also MIA this season is Showtime’s drama Homeland, which made the cut the last two years. This is the most drama-heavy AFI list I can remember, with only one half-hour series, HBO’s Veep. (Netflix’s hourlong Orange Is The New Black was nominated as a comedy by the WGA but is competing as a drama for the Golden Globes and the Emmys.)

Related: AFI’s Top 10 Films: Good News For Majors

The guilty pleasure on the roster is ABC’s hot sophomore drama Scandal, landing its first major best series awards recognition.  The rest of the series have been in top awards consideration and received WGA noms last week, with the exception Game Of Thrones, which was not in the running due to a submission error. Returning from last year are Game Of Thrones, Emmy winner Breaking Bad and Mad Men. Here is the full list: Read More »

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AFI Awards Will Be Handed Out January 10

By | Tuesday September 17, 2013 @ 12:00am PDT

The American Film Institute‘s annual top 10 lists of films and TV shows will be unveiled December 9 and the AFI Awards will be handed out January 10 at an invite-only luncheon in Los Angeles. The … Read More »

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AFI Awards: Hollywood Power Players Turn Out For A Moment Of Sanity During Oscar Season Madness

Pete Hammond

Between the roller-coaster ride of Thursday’s 85th Academy Award Nominations and Critics Choice Awards and this weekend’s Golden Globes mania, Friday’s annual AFI Awards Luncheon was not only a breath of fresh air in this busy season. … Read More »

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AFI Unveils 2012 Awards In Film And TV

By | Monday December 10, 2012 @ 11:15am PST

The American Film Institute’s annual awards of the 10 best films and TV shows are selected by scholars, film and television artists, critics and AFI Trustees. This year’s juries were chaired by producers and AFI Board of Trustees Vice Chairs … Read More »

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AFI Awards Set For January 11, 2013

By | Monday September 10, 2012 @ 4:51pm PDT

Honorees for the 10 most outstanding films and 10 most outstanding TV shows of the year will be announced December 10 and the AFI Awards themselves are set for January 11, 2013 at a private luncheon in LA. The … Read More »

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AFI Awards Lunch Brings Out A-List Of Contenders

By | Friday January 13, 2012 @ 11:50pm PST
Pete Hammond

Judging by the turnout and the cool vibe in the room, today’s AFI Awards luncheon has risen to the top of must-attend award season events. The crush to get into the Four Seasons Hotel ballroom was well worth it since … Read More »

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Shirley MacLaine To Receive AFI Life Achievement Award On June 7th

By | Sunday October 9, 2011 @ 12:33pm PDT

Shirley MacLaine has been named the 40th recipient of the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award. The 77-year-old MacLaine will receive the tribute during a gala ceremony next June 7 that … Read More »

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2011 AFI Awards Scheduled For January 13

By | Wednesday August 24, 2011 @ 1:25pm PDT

LOS ANGELES, August 24, 2011 – AFI AWARDS 2011 records each year’s most outstanding achievements in film, television and other forms of the moving image arts. The honorees-only gathering is the only form of national recognition that honors

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Behind The Scenes Of AFI & CCMA Awards

Pete Hammond

Awards season came to the masses as Friday night’s 16th Annual Critics Choice Movie Awards was broadcast live on VH1, becoming the first movie kudos show of the year to hit the airwaves. It was a loose, sometimes hip, sometimes … Read More »

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AFI Top 10 Film/TV Awards Official Selections

By | Sunday December 12, 2010 @ 1:31pm PST

LOS ANGELES, December 12, 2010 – American Film Institute (AFI) today announced the official selections of AFI AWARDS 2010, AFI’s almanac that records the year’s most outstanding achievements in film, television, and other forms of the moving image

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