American Hustle Bradley Cooper Christian Bale‘American Hustle,’ ‘Gravity’: AFI Awards 2013 - big-studio movies rule once again (photo: Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper in ‘American Hustle’)

The American Film Institute has released AFI Awards list featuring the Top Ten Movies of 2013. As usual, the AFI Awards mostly focus on mainstream, popular fare from the big studios; in fact, they’re a sort of more upscale, Oscar-friendlier People’s Choice Awards, i.e., no Twilight, no The Fast and The Furious, no Adam Sandler, scattered super-hero movies, mostly bypassing Harry Potter. (You’ll see why they’re so big-studio-friendly once you scroll down a bit to check out the list of this year’s AFI Awards’ jury members.)

Six of the AFI’s Top Ten 2013 movies come courtesy of the Hollywood majors: American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Gravity, Her, Saving Mr. Banks, and The Wolf of Wall Street. Additionally, 12 Years a Slave was released by Fox Searchlight Pictures, a subsidiary of 20th Century Fox; Nebraska is a Paramount Vantage release; and the Fruitvale Station distributor is awards-season savvy The Weinstein Company. Inside Llewyn Davis is the lone "real" indie, distributed by CBS Films.

Note: Non-American movies — e.g., Stephen Frears’ Philomena, Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue Is the Warmest Color, Asghar Farhadi’s The Past — are ineligible, and to date the AFI hasn’t bothered to come up with a Best Foreign Film list.

Last year, eight movies found on the AFI list were among the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ eventual nine Best Picture Oscar nominees. Michael Haneke’s Amour was the one Best Picture Oscar nominee not found on the AFI list; Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises and Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom were the two AFI picks that failed to receive a matching Oscar nod.

Top Ten Movies: AFI Awards 2013

  • David O. Russell’s American Hustle, with Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro.
  • Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips, with Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Catherine Keener.
  • Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station, with Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz.
  • Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, with Sandra Bullock, George Clooney.
  • Spike Jonze’s Her, with Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Kristen Wiig, Chris Pratt, Olivia Wilde, and the voice of Scarlett Johansson.
  • Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis, with Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake.
  • Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, with Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb.
  • John Lee Hancock’s Saving Mr. Banks, with Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Colin Farrell.
  • Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt.
  • Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, with Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Jean Dujardin, Kyle Chandler.

Previous AFI Awards lists include People’s Choice Awards-friendly fare such as Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, Lee Unkrich and Andrew Stanton’s Finding Nemo, Judd Apatow’s The Forty Year-Old Virgin, Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids, Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, Michael Mann’s Collateral, Edward Zwick’s The Last Samurai, Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino, and Todd Phillips’ The Hangover. The AFI Awards’ movie of the year of 2001 was Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

AFI Jury members

According to the American Film Institute’s press release, the AFI Awards selections were made "through AFI’s unique jury process in which AFI members, scholars, film and television artists, critics and AFI Trustees determine the most outstanding achievements of the year."

AFI Board of Trustees Vice Chair Tom Pollock, former Vice Chairman of MCA and Chairman of Universal Pictures, presided over the film jury. Among the other 2013 jury members were Jon Avnet, Anne V. Coates, Roman Coppola, D.C. Fontana, Nancy Meyers, and Noah Wyle; scholars from a handful of universities; the AFI Board of Trustees; and movie critics from print and online publications like Entertainment Weekly, The Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Time Magazine, TV Guide, and USA Today.

AFI Top Ten Movies of 2013 list: The Omissions

Among the eligible movies not included on the AFI Top Ten list were the following:

  • J.C. Chandor’s All Is Lost, with Robert Redford.
  • John Wells’ August: Osage County, with Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Sam Shepard, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Chris Cooper, Dermot Mulroney.
  • Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, with Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, Andrew Dice Clay.
  • Lee Daniels’ The Butler, with Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, Alex Pettyfer, Jane Fonda, Alan Rickman, James Marsden.
  • Jean-Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club, with Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, Steve Zahn.
  • Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, with Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Sam Claflin, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson.
  • Shane Black’s Iron Man 3, with Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, Don Cheadle.
  • Peter Berg’s Lone Survivor, with Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ali Suliman, Eric Bana.
  • Jeff Nichols’ Mud, with Tye Sheridan, Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey.
  • Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners, with Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano.
  • Ron Howard’s Rush, with Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Alexandra Maria Lara, Olivia Wilde.

AFI Awards 2013: Top Ten Television Shows

The AFI’s Top Ten Television shows were The Americans, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Good Wife, House of Cards, Mad Men, Masters of Sex, Orange Is the New Black, and Scandal Veep.

Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper American Hustle photo: Sony Pictures / Columbia Pictures.

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