Every year, the American Film Institute convenes a jury to select the Ten Outstanding Films and Television Shows of the year. The outcome is a celebratory luncheon that everyone seems to agree is an oasis in the crowded awards season. There are no presentations, just a reading of the “rationales” for each choice, accompanied by well-chosen film clips. As a longtime jury member (and occasional chair) I’ve been asked to read those paragraphs in recent years, and it’s a pleasure to do so, even if I disagree with some of the selections. Mostly, it’s great fun to be in a room with so many film and TV luminaries who are completely at ease; you see, there are no television cameras inside the Four Seasons Hotel ballroom. People are so relaxed they don’t even mind my barging up to them to ask if I can snap their picture. Here are some of my favorites from the Friday event.
Just think: a couple of years ago, Australian actress Jacki Weaver was unknown to American audiences and moviemakers. In the wake of her startling performance in Animal Kingdom she popped onto everyone’s radar—and now she’s an Oscar nominee for Silver Linings Playbook.
Don Johnson, who delivers a rich and colorful performance in Django Unchained, poses with Argo star and director Ben Affleck. I have no idea if they know each other, or ever met before, but I spotted them together and took this shot.
Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner is all smiles as his series was chosen yet again. Moviemaker Judd Apatow is also representing a much-praised television show: Lena Dunham’s Girls, on which he serves as executive producer.
Director Ang Lee, basking in the success of Life of Pi, is interviewed for the AFI Archives alongside his charismatic young star, Suraj Sharma.
At the end of the luncheon, Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow sought out filmmaker Norman Jewison, who delivered a lovely speech thanking this year’s artists for what they do. He called them “crazy” and said how much we need that kind of craziness, not only for entertainment value but to provide insights into ourselves and our society.
Hugh Jackman chats with 20th Century Fox honcho Jim Gianopulos, who may know him better as Wolverine than as Jean Valjean.
George Clooney is a behind-the-scenes figure this year, having served as one of Argo’s producers, along with his longtime filmmaking partner Grant Heslov. Here they happily display their AFI certificates.
Two very talented twentysomethings: Jennifer Lawrence, the costar of Silver Linings Playbook, has fun with Girls creator and star Lena Dunham for the benefit of the camera.