Reese attended the AFI Awards Luncheon in Los Angeles yesterday, where Big Little Lies was honoured. The AFI announced their Top 10 Films & TV Shows of 2017 back in December, and yesterday the winners celebrated their work, with Reese and writer David E. Kelley representing Big Little Lies. Reese was snapped with fellow Hollywood stars Tom Hanks, Octavia Spencer, Patty Jenkins, Greta Gerwig and Gillian Anderson. The first HQ photos are in our Gallery for you:
• AFI Awards Luncheon x22
AFI Awards Salute ‘Dunkirk,’ ‘The Post,’ ‘Game of Thrones’
Guillermo del Toro hugged Christopher Nolan and Reese Witherspoon huddled with Patty Jenkins, all while Steven Spielberg greeted a line of well-wishers at the AFI Awards Friday at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons, which AFI topper Bob Gazzale described as an opportunity “to be together as a community.”
Jason Blum, producer of “Get Out,” told Variety that it’s “the best event of the weekend.”
The mood is always friendly since there is no competition, no TV cameras, no envelopes, and no acceptance speeches. There was also no suspense: The 10 films and 11 TV shows honored were announced Dec. 7.
Hollywood has been under fire for gender inequality, sexual harassment, and lack of inclusion, but those those things were unspoken from stage, since the brisk ceremony is all about showcasing the year’s work. But the gender issue was addressed subtly in the film clips chosen by AFI to quickly depict a century of great film and TV work, with segments of strong women, ranging from Shirley Temple to Lucille Ball and Bette Davis.
Gazzale also gave shout-outs to AFI alumnae represented in the year’s choices, including three women: writer Liz Hannah, editor Sarah Broshar, and Jenkins, with the filmmaker closing the event by giving the “benediction” in tribute to the honorees.
The format was the same as in past years. A brief clip was shown from each of the 21 works, with an AFI rep announcing the reasons for inclusion, or the “jury rationales.”
Movies of the year were “The Big Sick,” “Call Me by Your Name,” “Dunkirk,” “The Florida Project,” “Get Out,” “Lady Bird,” “The Post,” “The Shape of Water,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” and “Wonder Woman.”
The TV shows were “Big Little Lies,” “The Crown,” “Feud: Bette and Joan,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Good Place,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Insecure,” “Master of None,” “Stranger Things 2,” and “This Is Us.” There was also a special award to PBS’s “The Vietnam War,” directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.
Of the clips, several were notable for being free of dialogue, including “Master of None,” “Dunkirk,” and “The Shape of Water,” while a segment from “The Vietnam War” was brief, but still a tearjerker.
Other film directors on hand included Sean Baker, Luca Guadagnino, Greta Gerwig, and Jordan Peele. The stars included Tom Hanks, Aziz Ansari, Sterling K. Brown, Timothee Chalamet, Willem Dafoe, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Sally Hawkins, Daniel Kaluuya, Kumail Nanjiani, Brooklynn Prince, Issa Rae, Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan, and Octavia Spencer.
Executives included Judd Apatow, Michael Barker, Tom Bernard, Toby Emmerich, Randy Freer, David E. Kelley, Sue Kroll, John Landgraf, Donna Langley, Bryan Lourd, Ron Meyer, Richard Plepler, Ted Sarandos, Jeff Shell, Stacey Snider, Kevin Tsujihara, and Nancy Utley.
Key contributors to the honored works included David Benioff, Alexandre Desplat, Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer, Emily Gordon, David E. Kelley, Shawn Levy, Warren Littlefield, Peter Morgan, Bruce Miller, Ryan Murphy, Amy Pascal, Alex Saks, Michael Schur, Emma Thomas, Jean-Marc Vallee, D.B. Weiss, and Hans Zimmer.
AFI in 2017 celebrated its 50th anniversary. On hand at the luncheon were such key AFI contributors as Bob Daly, George Stevens Jr. and Jean Picker Firstenberg.
At the wrap of the two-hour event, first-time attendee Peter Spears (producer of “Call Me by Your Name”) told Variety, “Everyone told me the AFI luncheon is one of the highlights of awards season and they were right. I found it very moving to be there with all of those incredibly talented people celebrating the beautiful work of our peers and colleagues.”
AFI Awards, chosen by special committees of industry workers, journalists, and educators, honor the year’s “most culturally and artistically significant” works. They don’t have strict rules about eligibility for TV series: The committee judges on if the show had a notable year, whether it’s new or not. HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” for example, has won in the past as well as for 2017.
Longtime sponsor Audi created the Audi Fellowship for Women, which will support one female director for her entire two-year enrollment at AFI Conservatory.
‘Wonder Woman’ director Patty Jenkins leads AFI Awards toast
With the American Film Institute’s annual luncheon Friday recognizing the best in film and television, Hollywood’s awards season is officially underway.
The schmooze-y celebration at the Four Seasons Hotel brought together the casts and creators of 2017′s most celebrated movies and TV shows, many of which are also in contention for the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday.
“Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins led the honorees in a toast, during which she quoted former Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham (who is played by Meryl Streep in Steven Spielberg’s “The Post,” an AFI honoree and best picture nominee at the Globes).
“To love what you do and feel that it matters, how could anything be more fun?” Jenkins said. “We love what we do. It doesn’t always matter — and often it doesn’t — but sometimes it does, so it’s always worth it to try.”
With winners announced in advance and no trophies to accept onstage, the AFI Awards are an opportunity for collegial confabulation.
“This is a place to be together as a community,” said AFI president Bob Gazzale, “to consider the compendium and feel proud.”
Actors, writers, directors and executives embraced the chance to chat, with superstar mashups spontaneously erupting throughout the room.
“Insecure” creator and star Issa Rae greeted Universal Pictures chief Donna Langley. Jenkins was part of a woman-power trio, chatting with Reese Witherspoon and “Lady Bird” writer-director Greta Gerwig. Witherspoon and “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot shared a mutual admiration moment, with Gadot telling Witherspoon, “I’m such a big fan.”
Guillermo del Toro made Spielberg laugh. Actress Saoirse Ronan met “Master of None” writer and actress Lena Waithe. Tom Hanks posed for a photo with “The Big Sick” screenwriters Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, who playfully gave him posing tips.
Sterling K. Brown rearranged place cards at the “This Is Us” table so he could sit next to costar Chrissy Metz. Sam Rockwell did the same thing at the table for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” moving himself closer to actress Sandy Martin, who plays his mother in the film.
“Call Me By Your Name” stars Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet, both awards-season newcomers, stood together as they took in the celebrity-filled room.
Besides “Wonder Woman,” ″The Post,” ″Lady Bird,” ″Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” ″The Big Sick” and “Call Me By Your Name,” AFI named “The Florida Project,” ″Get Out,” ″Dunkirk” and “The Shape of Water” as its top films of 2017. Most are also up for best picture at the Globes.
AFI’s TV picks also overlap with Globes nominees. Besides “Insecure,” ″This Is Us” and “Master of None,” AFI chose “Big Little Lies,” ?The Crown,” ?Feud: Bette and Joan,” ?Game of Thrones,” ?The Handmaid’s Tale,” ″The Good Place,” and ?Stranger Things 2.” A special award was given to “The Vietnam War” TV documentary series.
Many luncheon guests will see each other throughout the weekend at the various events leading up to the Globes. Some went straight from the AFI lunch to the HBO Luxury Lounge, also at the Four Seasons, where celebs could load up on freebies.
Among the takers were Ever Carradine of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” who snagged an $880 UPPAbaby luxury stroller, “Modern Family” star Julie Bowen, who investigated her family tree with an onsite Ancestry.com historian, and “Veep” star Matt Walsh, who picked up a timepiece from WatchGang to wear to Sunday’s ceremony.
Saturday’s pre-Globes events include a tea party held by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and a fundraising gala to support Sean Penn’s J/P Haitian Relief Organization.