Posted by: ckckred | December 10, 2013

AFI Awards 2013


The defining trait of the American Film Institute is how predictable they are.  The AFI has done plenty of great work conserving cinema but much like the Oscars the films they honor tend to be the ones generating the most buzz rather than the best in quality.  The jurors themselves are either members of the AFI board or mainstream critics  like Leonard Maltin (not to mention the lists for the last two years are nearly identical to those of voter Peter Travers of Rolling Stone Magazine).  While it’s hard to deny the AFI honors some great cinema, they also acknowledge big and showy films that are, to put concisely, unabashedly self-important and enormously bombastic like Les Miserables and The Help.

2013’s list might have not diverged from the pattern but there are plenty of strong movies included.  While Gravity and 12 Years A Slave may be obvious picks, they’re 100% deserved and I’m pleased to see Inside Llewyn Davis, The Wolf on Wall Street, and Her on the list, even though I haven’t seen them.  The voters, though, snubbed Before Midnight, a big contender for being the best movie of the year and receiving some of the strongest reviews (a 94 on Metacritic).  And while I have not watched Saving Mr. Banks, early reviews have been relatively mixed (a 69 on Metacritic in contrast), so its inclusion over Before Midnight as well as Mud is surprising.

As for television, it’s hard to disagree with.  There are shows sure to be on every critic’s list like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones as well as smaller but no less great series like Orange is the New Black (plus the AFI seems to have gotten over its obsession with Modern Family).  While I would have liked to seen the inclusion of Enlightened, Parks and Rec, or Arrested Development, I can’t complain really about anything else.  Winners below:


12 Years A Slave

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Fruitvale Station



Inside Llewyn Davis


Saving Mr. Banks

The Wolf on 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



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