“Kong” Crowned by AFI
King Kong has crashed award-show season.
The great ape’s outsized new movie–that would be King Kong–towered above the competition as the American Film Institute on Sunday unveiled its year-end picks for Movies of the Year.
Because the AFI doesn’t play favorites among its favorites, Kong only towered above the likes of action-figure collector Andy Stitzer because he’s taller. But as far as the institute is concerned, King Kong and The 40-Year-Old Virgin are created equal, and are equally good.
Even more than the critics awards unveiled in the last few days, the AFI’s take on what made for great cinema in 2005 ran the gamut of proven crowd-pleasers (40-Year-Old Virgin) and expected crowd-pleasers (the as-yet unreleased Kong) to quiet art-house fare (the divorce drama The Squid and the Whale).
The list also includes the quickly established usual suspects: Brokeback Mountain; Good Night, and Good Luck; Capote; and A History of Violence.
Brokeback, the gay cowboy western, won Best Picture honors from the Los Angeles and New York critics. Good Night, George Clooney’s docudrama about CBS Newsman Edward R. Murrow during the McCarthy Era, claimed the Best Film title from the National Board of Review. Capote has earned multiple kudos for its star (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and its screenplay. A History of Violence has William Hurt in Oscar play with Supporting Actor kudos from the L.A. and New York critics.
Rounding out the AFI’s Movies of the Year selections: Crash, the Oprah Winfrey-boostered look at extreme racial tensions in Los Angeles; Munich, Steven Spielberg’s upcoming take on the birth of modern terrorism at the 1972 Summer Olympics; and, Syriana, the political thriller starring Good Night director Clooney.
All but Kong and Munich are currently in theaters. Kong tries to tramp into Titanic territory starting Wednesday; Munich opens Christmas Day.
The film picks were voted on by a 13-member panel of filmmakers, critics, historians and the guy who directed all the Austin Powers movies.
Forever fond of lists, AFI empowered a second jury panel to compile a list of the year’s 10 best TV shows. Among the atypical award winners: Sci-Fi Channel’s Battlestar Galactica; UPN’s Veronica Mars; and, Showtime’s Sleeper Cell.
Ensuring that no Oscar aspirant will want for a free chicken meal between now and March, AFI will fete its honorees at Jan. 13 luncheon in Los Angeles.
Here’s a complete look at the group’s official selections for Movies of the Year (listed alphabetically):
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Good Night, and Good Luck
A History of Violence
The Squid and the Whale
And here are AFI’s official selections for TV Programs of the Year (listed alphabetically):
Sometimes in April
“Kong” Crowned by AFI