‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens': What Critics Are Saying

22 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AFI Awards: What It Means When ‘Star Wars’ Is In, ‘Revenant’ Is Out (Analysis).

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday that he is “confident” President Barack Obama will see the latest movie in the Star Wars saga “at some point,” reporters said. CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller also noted that the MPAA arranges films for White House screenings (so don’t expect to see the first family waiting in line for popcorn at your local theater).

Abrams’ film to include it on its year-end top 10 list — in place of The Revenant, The Hateful Eight, The Danish Girl, Trumbo, Joy, Steve Jobs, Creed, Black Mass and Sicario, among other highly-touted Oscar hopefuls — we learned on Wednesday afternoon when the American Film Institute announced its honorees for the 16th annual AFI Awards, which will be presented at a luncheon in January. Last week, Obama praised Star Wars creator George Lucas at the Kennedy Center Honors, citing a legacy he said would continue to endure for generations to come. “Think about how many children have been raised, at least in part, by George Lucas,” the president said. “Think about how many young people searching for their place in the universe have thought to themselves, ‘If a kid from Tatooine moisture farm can go from bulls-eyeing womp rats in his T-16 to saving the galaxy, then maybe I can be something special too?’ “George, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but they might even make a brand-new Star Wars movie soon. The AFI’s nine other selections for 2015, in addition to Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Disney), are The Big Short (Paramount), Bridge of Spies (Dreamworks), Carol (The Weinstein Co.), Inside Out (Disney-Pixar), Mad Max: Fury Road (Warner Bros.), The Martian (20th Century Fox), Room (A24), Spotlight (Open Road) and Straight Outta Compton (Universal). It’s very low-key, it’s not getting a lot of promotion,” Obama joked. “But it’s also pretty remarkable that nearly 40 years after the first Star Destroyer crawled across the screen, we are still obsessed with George’s vision of a galaxy far, far away.

AFI Awards selections are made “through an AFI jury process in which AFI trustees, scholars, film and television artists and critics determine the most outstanding achievements of the year.” Only five of this year’s 16 film jurors are members of the Academy (film and/or TV) — jury chair Tom Pollock (executives branch), Marshall Herskovitz (producers branch), Bennett Miller (directors branch), John Ridley (writers branch) and Emma Thomas (producers branch) — and none, notably, are representatives of below-the-line branches. Whenever the president sees it, there’s a good chance he’ll be pleased — reviews of the film (both from critics and celebrities who saw the film early) have so far been overwhelmingly positive.

When the two groups have not overlapped in the past, it usually has been a case of the AFI recognizing a big studio film (to which they tend to gravitate because or in spite of the fact that the big studios provide AFI with much of its funding) that is then replaced in the best picture Oscar race by either an indie film or by nothing at all (the Academy is not obligated to include 10 films, but rather somewhere between five and 10). Banks, which the Academy replaced with Dallas Buyers Club and Philomena — in other words, two indies replaced two indies and the Academy passed on one studio film that AFI endorsed.

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