Awards season is in full swing now and the American Film Institute has given its two cents as to which films should be in the running for best picture of them all.
It should come as no surprise that the 2013 AFI Awards included the Sandra Bullock-led space stunner "Gravity"; David O'Russell's star-studded "American Hustle"; the gut-wrenching "12 Years a Slave"; and the feel-pretty-good "Saving Mr. Banks", starring Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, on its list of the top 10 movies of the year.
And then there were the less obvious choices and the films that got away.
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"Captain Phillips," also starring Hanks as a real-life person, made the cut--but "All Is Lost," for which 77-year-old Robert Redford is getting the reviews of his career, did not. (Perhaps there was only room for one harrowing sea drama this year.)
"Fruitvale Station," about the final day in the life of a young man in Oakland before he's gunned down by a transit cop, also made the list, another kudos for first-time feature director Ryan Coogler.
Alexander Payne's latest, the black and white father-son odyssey "Nebraska," made the list, as did the Coen brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis," which we only keep thinking is black and white because the titular struggling folk singer played by Oscar Isaac just always looks so darn cold among the muted tones of 1960s-era Greenwich Village.
Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street," which clocks in at a compact 179 minutes and doesn't come out until Christmas Day, was also named one of the year's best.
Interestingly, because often life is really stranger than fiction, six of AFI's picks are are based on a true story--seven if you count all the characters inspired by real musicians in "Inside Llewyn Davis."
Meanwhile, "August: Osage County" and "Lee Daniels' The Butler" were both snubbed, despite boasting ensembles packed with star power. And while Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto have already scooped up a couple of acting awards for "Dallas Buyers Club" and Cate Blanchett is considered a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination, neither "Dallas Buyers Club" nor "Blue Jasmine" found a spot on this list.
"Her," in which Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with a machine voiced by Scarlett Johansson, rounds out AFI's top 10 after being selected as co-Best Picture with "Gravity" by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association over the weekend. (The torn LAFCA also made it a tie for Best Actress between Blanchett and Adele Exarchopoulos of the French drama "Blue Is the Warmest Color.")
Here is the complete list of films honored by the 2013 AFI Awards:
- "American Hustle"
- "Captain Phillips"
- "Fruitvale Station"
- "Inside Llewyn Davis"
- "Saving Mr. Banks"
- "12 Years a Slave"
- "The Wolf of Wall Street"