The American Film Institute(AFI) announced its 10 outstanding motion pictures for 2002 today (Dec 16) andits almanac recording the year's most significant achievements in theworld of the moving image. The selections were made over two days by two juries- one for feature films and one for TV -comprising one chair, three scholars,three artists, three critics and three AFI trustees. Now in their third year,the AFI Awards recognises the ensemble contribution of a picture's castand crew. Honourees will receive their awards at a lunch ceremony on Dec 16,2003, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles.
Members of the jury formovies were: David Ansen (Newsweek),Jeanine Basinger (Wesleyan University), Lindsay Doran (producer), Julie Dash(writer/director/producer), Jim Hosney (film historian), Fay Kanin (writer),Leonard Maltin (Entertainment Tonight), Ted Perry (Middlebury College), Tom Pollock (producer), Bob Rehme(producer), Carrie Rickey (The Philadelphia Enquirer), Tom Schatz (UniversityOf Texas) and Saul Zaentz (producer).
"We salute thecollaborative team of artists that created these American landmarks and theirplace in our rich, cultural legacy," AFI Director and chief executiveofficer Jean Picker Firstenberg, said in a statement.
The honourees are listedbelow in alphabetical order:
AFI MOVIES OF THE YEAR:About A Boy
Rationale: "Thismature look at immaturity is witty, smart and heartwarming without beingsentimental. In a world where laughs are precious, yet film comedy isundervalued, About A Boy is atonic for what ails us. Hugh Grant proves once again that his charm isboundless."About Schmidt
Rationale: "AboutSchmidt puts a new face on filmsatire, embodied in a towering performance by Jack Nicholson. The moviepresents America's heartland with a richness of detail that brings aunique light to this funny, sad and always captivating tale."Adaptation
Rationale: "Adaptation is a film that makes the word "original"seem ordinary. Both entertaining and intelligent, the film mercilessly destroysan audience's expectations and demands that it keep up, keep laughing orbe cut out of the final draft."Antwone Fisher
Rationale: "AntwoneFisher provides a clarion call forall films that strive to bring unspoken topics into the national conversation.For a modern world drowning in cynicism, this is an honest and sincere filmthat helps us understand that sometimes we have to go home again before we cango forward. Derek Luke's performance in the title role heralds thearrival of a fresh, new talent."Chicago
Rationale: "Chicago gives contemporary audiences the "old razzledazzle" with an explosion of talent and energy that dares them not toapplaud after each musical number. The film pioneers new ground in thisuniquely American art form and reminds us once again of the brilliance of BobFosse."Frida
Rationale: "Frida is a movie about art that is a work of art in itself.The film's unique visual language takes us into an artistis headand reminds us that art is best enjoyed when it moves, breathes and is paintedon a giant canvas, as only the movies can provide."Gangs Of New York
Rationale: "GangsOf New York is bravura filmmaking byan American master. Martin Scorsese's epic tale moves with cinematicelegance from New York City's Five Points to Ground Zero, and the storyit tells will be a revelation to todayis audiences. Daniel DayLewisi mesmerizing performance as Bill the Butcher creates one of thegreat screen villains of all time.The Hours
Rationale: "TheHours provides further proof thatfilm is the language of the 21st Century. A strong adaptation of a difficultliterary project, The Hoursblossoms on-screen in a brilliant, ever-unfolding exploration of madness.Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore create an acting ensemble acrosstime - and for the ages."The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
Rationale: "TheLord Of The Rings: The Two Towers isan epic screen experience that will inspire awe in generations of movie loversfor years to come. Though presented on a massive scale, the film'sattention to detail and its emotional depth are the heart of its extraordinaryachievement. Whether marching in the shadow of 10,000 warriors or showing twopeople talking, Peter Jacksonis personal vision for the trilogy fully realizesJ R R Tolkien's boundless literary imagination."The Quiet American
Rationale: "TheQuiet American gives us an insidelook at America's early involvement in Vietnam at a time when audiencesare evaluating how the world perceives the United States' role in global politics.The film brilliantly captures 1950s Saigon as well as the subtleties of GrahamGreene's novel. Michael Caine continues to prove that he is the mostconsistently reliable actor in American film."
AFI MOMENTS OF SIGNIFICANCE(motion pictures only):
DVD in/VHS out
The jury wrote: The sale ofDVDs surpassed VHS sales for the first time in 2002. In addition to signalingthe desire by consumers for quality picture and sound, the enormous success ofDVD inspires filmmakers and studios to invest time, effort and money inpresenting additional materials for films old and new. The access to thesematerials represents a significant step in film education for both the generalpublic and scholars.My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Originally developed by NiaVardalos as a one-woman stage show, My Big Fat Greek Wedding became a word-of-mouth phenomenon and went on tobecome both the highest-grossing independent film of all time and, moresignificantly, the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time. Miss Vardalosadapted the screenplay from her play and starred in the film. Without thebenefit of a major marketing and advertising campaign, My Big Fat GreekWedding provides a reminder that thepublic is the ultimate arbiter of what makes good entertainment.
Women Lead All Four Guilds
When Martha Coolidge becamethe first female president of the Directors Guild of America on March 10, 2002,all of the major guilds were led by women for the first time. Victoria Riskinhas served as president of the Writers Guild since September 21, 2001. KathleenKennedy served as co-president of the Producers Guild in 2001 and was electedpresident on May 20, 2002. Melissa Gilbert was elected president of the ScreenActors Guild on March 9, 2002.
Movielink.com launches modelfor future distribution
Five of Hollywood'sbiggest studios (Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal, WarnerBros) launched a video-on-demand service that will allow consumers to accessthe studios' libraries of films via a broadband internet connection. Thejoint venture is one of the biggest distribution advances sinceHollywoodis earliest days, when studios distributed their films to anetwork of studio-owned theatres.
Billy Wilder 1906-2002
On March 27, legendarywriter/director/producer Billy Wilder died at the age of 95. Recipient of theAFI Life Achievement Award in 1986 and winner of five Academy Awards, Wildergave the world several of America's greatest film achievements, includingSunset Boulevard, DoubleIndemnity, The Apartment, The Lost Weekend and Some Like It Hot.