‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ makes AFI’s Top Ten List but don’t overreact people

AFI heavy on studio fare this year
"Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens"

The American Film Institute announced its annual year-end top 10 list today and it was heavier than usual with studio fare.  Before reviewing the list it’s important to remember two things.  First, the voters are made up of “some” Academy members (not even a majority), industry players and select press.  Second, last year’s group selected 11 films and only six of those were nominated for Best Picture. In 2013 they picked just seven of the eventual nine nominees.  So, sure, it’s probably a better gauge of Academy interests than the Golden Globes or, cough, Critics Choice Awards, but you have to take it with a big spoonful of salt. They always get a few wrong.

Here’s this year’s list.

“The Big Short”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Carol”
“Inside Out”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“Room”
“Spotlight”
“Straight Outta Compton”
“Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens”

The films that were snubbed include “The Revenant,” “The Hateful Eight,” “Creed” and “Joy.”  For those curious, “Brooklyn” was not eligible because it wasn’t produced by an American company or financiers.  It’s likely “in” for Oscar.  Who isn’t from this list?  Frankly, this isn’t great news for “Hateful Eight.”  Tarantino’s “Django” was also a film that screened late for critics groups and guilds and still made this list.  “Star Wars” would be a shocking nominee (and frankly not deserving even though it’s an enjoyable flick).  Critical love has pushed “Mad Max” far, but we won’t really know if it makes the cut until PGA announces next month (or DGA snubs George Miller).  Many are expecting “Bridge of Spies” to fade, but as an old colleague of mind noted recently, “It’s got a silent fanbase.” Could “Inside Out” be a surprise omission?  Is “The Big Short” really an Academy favorite? (SAG says so.)  “Straight Outta” has now appeared here and in SAG ensemble.  Is the industry love for it that strong? One thing’s for sure, as the holidays approach the race for a nomination is as wide open as ever.

(But, seriously, I don’t want to break your heart, but “The Force Awakens” isn’t getting nominated.)

As for the TV list, here are the honorees:

“The Americans”
“Better Call Saul”
BLACK-ISH
“Empire”
“Fargo”
“Game of Thrones”
“Homeland”
“Master of None”
“Mr. Robot”
“Unreal”

“Mad Men” earned a Special Award for “its contributions to America’s cultural legacy. During its run, the series made the AFI AWARDS list a total of seven times — more than any other TV program in the history of the awards.”

This year’s winners will gather on January 8, 2016 at the AFI AWARDS private luncheon which is described as “a noncompetitive and intimate event” where AFI will reveal the jury rationales for each selection.

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With over a decade of experience in the movie industry, Ellwood survived working for two major studios, has written for Variety, MSN and the LA Times and co-founded HitFix, Inc. serving as its first Editor-in-Chief and President. Ellwood spends his time relaxing hitting 3’s on the basketball court and following his beloved Clippers.
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