Having exorcised my annoyance at Hollywood’s endless awards
season, I must admit it has at least one benefit: getting to rub elbows with
people I admire at events like Friday’s AFI luncheon and Saturday night’s Los
Angeles Film Critics Association dinner. I actually vote for these two awards,
so participating gives them some personal meaning for me.
The American Film Institute honors ten outstanding American films as well as ten outstanding television series every year, so the banquet room at the Four Seasons Hotel is packed with famous faces. It isn’t every day when you can look around and see Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, the creators of Breaking Bad and Mad Men, and scores of other creative giants from both sides of the camera. Shirley MacLaine was called upon to end the luncheon with a “benediction” in which she summed up her feelings about a sixty-year career working with the best and the brightest.
The LAFCA dinner is always a collegial event. With three tie votes this year, there were more honorees than usual, but no one had cause to complain. In fact, the directors of Best Picture winners Spike Jonze and Alfonso Cuarón said how pleased they were to share the honor with each other. I was happy to present our Legacy Award to the Criterion Collection for its years of outstanding work in home video, where their company is universally hailed as the gold standard. Co-owners Peter Becker and Jonathan Turell, whose fathers started Janus Films decades ago, were there to accept.
It’s impossible to capture these experiences in just a handful of photos, but here are some of my favorites.