Rise to the challenge
By John Esther
In the spirit of creative community and civil rest, filmmakers and others met today at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons Hotel for the AFI Awards 2008 luncheon.
Director Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler), actor Laura Dern (Recount), actor-director Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino), actor Michael Emerson (Lost), director David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), actor Taraji P. Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), actor Emile Hirsch (Milk), Melissa Leo (Frozen River), Donal Logue (Life) director Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon), actor Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon), actor Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler), actor Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler) and others were in attendance for their films, which were among the 10 films and 10 television shows –- of obviously notably meritorious worth -- honored at the ninth year event to record entries into American Film Institute’s almanac of the 21st Century.
Introduced by AFI President Bob Gazzale after the above-par Four Season lunch the ten honorees in television were introduced by Rich Frank chair, AFI Jury for Television. This year’s selected honorees were: Breaking Bad, In Treatment, John Adams, Life, Lost, Mad Men, The Office, Recount, The Shield, and The Wire.
This was followed by film reviewer Leonard Maltin, chair, AFI Jury for Motion Pictures, who announced this year’s film selections: The Curious Case of Benjamin, Button, The Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon, Frozen River, Gran Torino, Iron Man, Milk, Wall-E, Wendy and Lucy, and The Wrestler.
Howard, who has made the best film of his career with Frost/Nixon, concluded the luncheon with a toast to “our good work,” which he was “proud” of being a part. During the benediction Opie/Richie drew comparisons between our difficult economic times and a documentary he made about the Great Depression back in the 11th grade.
“We are not immune to the challenges we face,” said Howard, encouraging his fellowmen and women to rise to the challenge and be at “our absolute best in the upcoming years.”
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, AFI President Emerita Jean Firstenberg, and AFI President Bob Gazzale
Other guests present were AFI President Emerita Jean Picker Firstenberg; Marshall Herskovitz; Kathleen Nolan; Frank Pierson; Tony To; Lisa Arpey; Jim Gianopulos; Dan Glickman; Daniel Petrie, Jr., and selected college professors and media.