On Sunday, the American Film Institute named their top 10 home-grown films of 2009: “Black Swan,” “The Fighter,” “Inception,” “The Kids Are All Right,” “127 Hours,” “The Social Network,” “The Town,” “Toy Story 3,” “True Grit” and “Winter’s Bone.” All of these, with the sole exception of “The Town,” figure in our latest pundit predictions for the Best Picture lineup at the Oscars. And even that Ben Affleck film is just out of our top 10.
The purpose of the AFI list is to shine the spotlight on “on works which 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.” No surprise then that our pundits pick for Best Picture — the very British “The King’s Speech” — was not eligible for inclusion. However, the AFI bestowed a special award on the film as well as the ineligible documentary “Waiting for Superman.”
Last year, the AFI snubbed eventual Best Picture nominees “Avatar” and “Inglourious Basterds.” Prior to that, even though the AFI chose twice as many movies as the Oscars, there were still eventual Best Picture contenders missing from the ranks. Indeed, in 2006 the eventual Oscar winner — “The Departed” — did not even merit mention in the AFI top 10.
Producer and former studio exec Tom Pollock chaired a 13- member jury that also included writer Diablo Cody, editor Donn Cambern, director Lee Daniels, academics Jeanine Basinger, Jane Gaines, Akira Mizuta Lippit and Michael Wood, AFI executive Bob Gazzale and critics Leonard Maltin, Elvis Mitchell, Claudia Puig and Lisa Schwarzbaum. Winners will be feted at a Jan. 14 luncheon at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles.
Image: American Film Institute logo (AFI)