AFI “Gangs” Up
by Lia Haberman
Dec 16, 2002, 2:00 PM PT
Once bitten, twice camera shy.
Just like last year, the American Film Institute released its best-of list counting down the top 10 movies and television shows of 2002. But unlike last year, the winners won’t be feted on national television.
AFI and CBS decided to nix the televised ceremony after the inaugural kudos last January failed to attract celebs and tanked in the ratings. (Tuxedo rental boutiques and limo drivers are undoubtedly among the few lamenting the decision to cancel one of the endless awards shows scheduled during the pre-Oscar season.)
This year, in breaking from the usual award-season tradition of honoring individual actors, directors, screenwriters, et al., AFI is simply giving props to the entire “creative ensemble”–cast, director, producer, screenwriter, composer, cinematographer, editor and production designer–behind the institute’s picks. (The key grips will have to sit this one out.)
Likewise, AFI isn’t singling out one flick as 2002’s best, instead listing 10 films alphabetically.
Among the winners was Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-buzzing Gangs of New York . Also in the mix: the sequel to last year’s AFI Best Picture, Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Both movies have yet to open.
In fact, John and Jane Q. Public haven’t had the chance to screen most of AFI’s picks, since they either haven’t opened or are only playing in limited release. The coming-soon attractions include Spike Jonze’s twisted Adaptation of Charlie Kaufman’s tortured script; Denzel Washington’s directorial debut, Antwone Fisher; big-screen musical Chicago; tour-de-force trio Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore in The Hours (which garnered a Best Film nod from the National Board of Review); Jack Nicholson’s About Schmidt (which was named top film by the Los Angeles film critics) and Phillip Noyce’s adaptation of Graham Greene’s 1950s novel The Quiet American.
In fact, only two of the honored films are either currently playing (the Frida Kahlo biopic Frida, starring Salma Hayek) or have been played out (the Weitz brothers About a Boy, starring Hugh Grant) at the multiplex.
The most notable dissee was Far from Heaven, which had been drawing plenty of Oscar attention to star Julianne Moore and was named Best Film on Monday by the New York Critics Association.
Meanwhile, a certain Big Fat movie that broke box-office records didn’t make the AFI’s top 10 list, but got an honorable mention in a catch-all category titled Moments of Significance. Corralled into this kiss-ass category are Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi miniseries Taken, Fox’s American Idol, MTV’s The Osbournes, the passing of Billy Wilder and the emergence of DVD and TiVo (“TiVo becomes a verb”), among others.
Here’s a complete list of the 2002 AFI Awards winners:
About a Boy
Gangs of New York
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Quiet American
Door to Door
Everybody Loves Raymond
The Gathering Storm
Six Feet Under
The West Wing
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