The AFI luncheon on Friday lived up to its reputation: It was a place for high-octane schmoozing and speedy efficiency.
AFI prexy-CEO Bob Gazzale said the event fulfilled the org’s two mandates — to educate and to honor — by pointing out that the day’s honorees included 30 AFI alumni.
The setup was the same as in past years: 90 minutes of table-hopping as lunch was served, followed by a one-hour program saluting TV shows and films. Rich Frank read the reasons for the TV inclusions, while Leonard Maltin did the honors on the film side, with each “rationale” followed by a brief and well-chosen film clip.
This year, there were 11 TV and 12 film honorees, up from the usual 10 and 10. Maltin pointed out that the selection committee decided it would be a “gross oversight” to ignore “The King’s Speech” and “Waiting for Superman,” even though they fell outside the usual mandate to honor American narrative films.The roster of execs on hand included Jon Avnet, Bob Daly, Jean Picker Firstenberg, Rich Frank, Jim Gianopulos, Brad Grey, Marshall Herskovitz, Alan Horn, Bryan Lourd, Amy Pascal, Frank Pierson, Tom Pollock, Rich Ross, John Shaffner, Tom Sherak, Howard Stringer and Ed Zwick (all on the AFI board of trustees) as well as Charles Collier, Ryan Kavanaugh, Sue Kroll, Donna Langley, Michael Lombardo, Michael Lynton, Sue Naegle, Jeff Robinov, Tom Rothman, Jeff Blake and Nancy Utley.
The slew of producers included Darla K. Anderson, Emma Thomas, David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, Christian Colson and Scott Rudin.
Also on hand were film directors Ben Affleck, Darren Aronofsky, Lisa Cholodenko, Debra Granik, Tom Hooper, Davis Guggenheim, Christopher Nolan, David O. Russell and Lee Unkrich; writers Michael Arndt, Simon Beaufoy, David Seidler; and TV creatives, Brad Falchuk, Vince Gilligan, Gary Goetzman, Darlene Hunt, Steve Levitan, Chris Lloyd, Ryan Murphy, Matthew Weiner and Terence Winter; and multihyphenates Aaron Sorkin and Frank Darabont.
Actors included Helena Bonham Carter, Colin Firth, Catherine O’Hara, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Annette Bening, Mark Ruffalo, Claire Bloom, Natalie Portman, Barbara Hershey, Mila Kunis, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin, Hailee Steinfeld, Jennifer Lawrence, Dean Norris, Julia Ormond, Jack McBrayer, Andrew Lincoln, Vincent Kartheiser, Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet.
Gazzale also gave a shoutout to Hewlett-Packard’s Satjiv Chahil, since HP created an AFI scholarship in the name of each honoree.
The fast-moving afternoon wrapped at 2 p.m. with Kirk Douglas, acknowledging the 50th anniversary of “Spartacus” and raising a toast to his son Michael.