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Starry Days And Nights

Leonard Maltin By Leonard Maltin | Leonard Maltin January 13, 2014 at 8:01PM

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.
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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.


The charming Adèle Exarchopoulos, this year’s Best Actress for "Blue is the Warmest Color."
The charming Adèle Exarchopoulos, this year’s Best Actress for "Blue is the Warmest Color."
Best Actor winner Bruce Dern celebrates with his "Nebraska" director Alexander Payne.
Best Actor winner Bruce Dern celebrates with his "Nebraska" director Alexander Payne.
Cate Blanchett charmed the audience with her acceptance speech; she tied with Adèle Exarchopoulos as Best Actress for "Blue Jasmine" and gave all the credit to Woody Allen.
Cate Blanchett charmed the audience with her acceptance speech; she tied with Adèle Exarchopoulos as Best Actress for "Blue Jasmine" and gave all the credit to Woody Allen.
Two other winners, James Franco (for "Spring Breakers") and Lupita Nyong'o (for "12 Years a Slave") chat before the dinner ceremony.
Two other winners, James Franco (for "Spring Breakers") and Lupita Nyong'o (for "12 Years a Slave") chat before the dinner ceremony.
At the AFI luncheon, two of this year’s top screenwriters meet: John Ridley ("12 Years a Slave") and Kelly Marcel ("Saving Mr. Banks")
At the AFI luncheon, two of this year’s top screenwriters meet: John Ridley ("12 Years a Slave") and Kelly Marcel ("Saving Mr. Banks")
Two of the year’s most successful directors pose at the AFI luncheon: Spike Jonze and Alfonso Cuarón.
Two of the year’s most successful directors pose at the AFI luncheon: Spike Jonze and Alfonso Cuarón.
From the brilliant series "House of Cards," Corey Stoll poses with his costar (and producer) Kevin Spacey
From the brilliant series "House of Cards," Corey Stoll poses with his costar (and producer) Kevin Spacey
Third-time LAFCA winner for Best Cinematography (this year for "Gravity"), Emmanuel Lubezki poses with his prized bottle of water.
Third-time LAFCA winner for Best Cinematography (this year for "Gravity"), Emmanuel Lubezki poses with his prized bottle of water.


This article is related to: Journal, Awards Season Roundup