The AFI Awards are probably the season’s most exclusive. Each year AFI honors the 10 best motion pictures and television programs with a star-studded luncheon at the Four Seasons Los Angeles. Winners are each allotted just one table to fill with directors, producers, and stars.
This year’s illustrious films included 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Fruitvale Station, Gravity, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Saving Mr. Banks, and The Wolf of Wall Street. The Americans, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Good Wife, House of Cards, Mad Men, Masters of Sex, Orange is the New Black, Scandal, and Veep were revered for excellence in TV. And so some of the industry’s top talent all gathered to celebrate their collective achievements.
Audi, who sponsored the event with Verizon, chauffeured 25 of the top honorees to the festivities. Tom Hanks was among the first to arrive. After he posed for photos beside his film’s poster, he joked that it should have been called “Saving Mr. Hanks.” But that man is clearly not in need of rescuing. Sandra Bullock seemed calm and collected until Octavia Spencer arrived and the two did a happy dance. Leonardo DiCaprio was unfortunately a no show, as was co-star Jonah Hill, but Martin Scorsese carried The Wolf. The American Hustle contingent was easily the days rowdiest. Bradley Cooper barely sat down to eat (it’s no wonder he’s been looking so thin) and David O. Russell took a selfie beside Amy Adams, who was taking a phone call.
And while the crowd was dining on beet and goat cheese salad, grilled salmon with couscous and kale, and custard with berries, Hollywood’s elite mixed and mingled. Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, and Hanks engaged in a lively discussion at the center of the room, even as the lights flickered to indicate that it was time for the formal presentation. Steven Spielberg, Julianna Margulies, Kate Mara and Emma Thompson were far more cooperative.
AFI showcased the 2013 highlights and articulated its reason for choosing this year’s honorees. After the clips were completed, Shirley MacLaine took to the stage to offer a toast and a benediction. “I believe that our business is our attempt to preserve our imagination against time,” she said. “We are entrusted with the responsibility of foretelling the future because nobody else knows what they are doing….to all of us!”