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AFI salutes top moments of 2008

Org honors 'Slumdog,' Fey, Summer Olympics

Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire” added another kudo to its list of honors on Sunday as it was named one of the year’s eight “Moments of Significance” by the AFI.

The pic “stands as a monument to the possibilities of cross-cultural storytelling,” the American Film Institute said Sunday.

Tina Fey also picked up another laurel, with AFI dubbing her America’s First Lady of Laughs for her appearances as GOP veep candidate Sarah Palin on “Saturday Night Live” and for her multi-tasking on her Peacock sitcom “30 Rock.”

Other significant moments in 2008 included TV and new-media coverage that allowed a worldwide aud to fixate on the historic presidential race between Barack Obama and John McCain and NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

The rapid changes in the TV distribution landscape were noted by AFI as being part of the “Age of Anxiety” for showbiz as traditional business models evolve. The org cited such examples as the growth of Internet website Hulu, DirecTV’s funding of a third season of NBC’s “Friday Night Lights” and the Peacock’s decision to move Jay Leno into a Monday-Friday primetime berth.

Joss Whedon’s online success with his made-for-Internet tuner “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” earned a separate nod.

On the film side, AFI noted the downturn for indie filmmakers, with specialty divisions such as Paramount Vantage, New Line, Warner Independent and Picturehouse disappearing. It also noted the loss of influence for film critics as many full-time positions were eliminated at Time, Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, Village Voice and Newsday.

“AFI celebrates the global community of film lovers interacting online, but also encourages these conversations to honor and appreciate historical context in addition to personal opinion,” the org said.

AFI’s “Moments of Significance” were chosen by a 13-person jury comprising scholars, film artists, critics and AFI trustees. Two juries, one for film and another for TV, deliberated for two days in Los Angeles.

AFI will honor the creatives behind these selections on Jan. 9 at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills.

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