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Another Starry Weekend

Another Starry Weekend

Millions of people watch the Golden Globes, but I’d like to
share pictures I took at two other events this weekend: the AFI Awards luncheon
on Friday and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association dinner on Saturday. The
AFI gathering is an oasis in midst of awards season, a classy affair where no
one is asked to make a speech and everyone, from stars to studio chiefs, shows
up to  represent the ten outstanding movies
and television shows of the year, according to the AFI juries. (full
disclosure: I’m a longtime jury member, along with a diverse mix of filmmakers,
academics, and critics.)

Best of all, everyone is relaxed and approachable. AFI’s CEO
Bob Gazzale orchestrates an afternoon that everyone seems to appreciate. I am
honored to read the “rationales” for each movie on the list and when I look out
at the audience it’s pretty heady to see the likes of Steven Spielberg, Meryl
Streep, and Oprah Winfrey looking back. Norman Lear capped off the luncheon
with cogent remarks about the importance of artists and storytellers,
especially when the world seems to have gone mad. He’s the sharpest, smartest
92-year-old I know.

At the Los Angeles Film Critics Association we pride
ourselves on staging a dinner that has meaning. Our winners don’t flee once
they’ve picked up their awards; they seem to enjoy talking to colleagues and
even critics on this celebratory occasion.

Angelina Jolie made a surprise appearance and delivered an eloquent tribute to our Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Gena Rowlands.

Boyhood took top honors, and deservedly so, but I was glad to see The Grand Budapest Hotel recognized for Adam Stockhausen’s amazing production design and Wes Anderson’s charming and witty screenplay. 

As icing on the cake, I was awarded a Special Citation from my fellow critics as my annual Movie Guide is coming to an end. Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times paid me tribute, while holding a copy of the book he’s had since he was 11 years old. He noted that my 45-year run made the 12-year effort to make Boyhood seem short by comparison! Then he introduced my daughter Jessie, who wiped me out with the loveliest words you can imagine. Her speech was followed by a standing ovation. What can I say to all of that? The experience was overwhelming in the best possible way.
I’d say I had a great weekend. I hope you enjoy some of these photographic souvenirs.

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