LOS ANGELES, Jan. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- America's finest film and television artists were among the guests honored today by the American Film Institute (AFI) at its annual AFI AWARDS 2014 luncheon. With no winners or losers, AFI AWARDS celebrates the complete creative ensembles behind the year's most outstanding motion pictures and television programs – and for the first time in the program's history, the voting procedure yielded an additional film honoree, resulting in 11 motion picture selections alongside the 10 for television.
Film icon and AFI Life Achievement Award honoree Kirk Douglas (SPARTACUS) made a rare and surprise public appearance at the event, where he announced the establishment of a Kirk Douglas Fellowship at the AFI Conservatory. This endowed scholarship marks the first named for a recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award, America's highest honor in film. The Kirk Douglas Fellowship will be a full-tuition two-year scholarship awarded biennially to one AFI Conservatory Fellow. This scholarship serves as an enduring investment by a master filmmaker, and an educational legacy that will echo into the future of the ongoing excellence of the art form.
Also at the event, AFI revealed its official rationales (below) for all 21 honorees, providing the cultural and artistic context to mark these outstanding creative endeavors as the year's notable milestones. Additionally, attending artists contributed to the Institute's ongoing almanac of excellence by recording video comments about the art form. These videos will be live on AFI.com on Tuesday, January 13, 2015.
Legendary American film and television producer/director/writer Norman Lear (ALL IN THE FAMILY) delivered the benediction at the luncheon's end, acknowledging the magnitude of the honorees' contributions to the film and television landscape. Additionally highlighting the extraordinary nature of this event, four AFI Life Achievement Award honorees attended: Kirk Douglas (1991), Clint Eastwood (1996), Steven Spielberg (1995) and Meryl Streep (2004).
Representing their creative teams were guests such as: Joel Cox, Clint Eastwood and Gary Roach (AMERICAN SNIPER); Edward Norton [BIRDMAN OR (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE)]; Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater and Richard Linklater (BOYHOOD); Steve Carell and Bennett Miller (FOXCATCHER); Keira Knightley, Graham Moore and Morten Tyldum (THE IMITATION GAME); Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy, Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan (INTERSTELLAR); Anna Kendrick, Rob Marshall and Meryl Streep (INTO THE WOODS); Dan Gilroy, John Gilroy and Rene Russo (NIGHTCRAWLER); Brad Pitt, Ava DuVernay, David Oyelowo and Oprah Winfrey (SELMA); Matthew Baer, Angelina Jolie and Miyavi (UNBROKEN); Jason Reitman, Miles Teller (WHIPLASH); Joseph Weisberg and Steven Spielberg (THE AMERICANS); Noah Hawley and Allison Tolman (FARGO); David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (GAME OF THRONES); Jack Falahee, Aja Naomi King and Peter Nowalk (HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER); Justin Baldoni, Yael Grobglas and Jennie Snyder Urman (JANE THE VIRGIN); Jack Amiel, Michael Begler and Clive Owen (THE KNICK); Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss and Matthew Weiner (MAD MEN); Jenji Kohan (ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK); Amanda Crew and Thomas Middleditch (SILICON VALLEY); and Jill Soloway and Jeffey Tambor (TRANSPARENT).
Historian Leonard Maltin, a member of the AFI Jury for Motion Pictures, recognized the film honorees with a reading of the official rationales. Richard Frank, Chair of the AFI Jury for Television and an AFI Board of Trustees Vice Chair, similarly acknowledged the television honorees.
AFI Board of Trustees in attendance included: AFI Board of Trustees Chair Sir Howard Stringer, AFI Board of Directors Chair Bob Daly, Jon Avnet, Gary Birkenbeuel, Roger Birnbaum, Jim Breyer, Senator Christopher Dodd, Nancy Fisher, Jean Picker Firstenberg, Richard Frank, Jim Gianopulos, Lawrence Herbert, Marshall Herskovitz, Alan Horn, Jon Jashni, Donna Langley, Bryan Lourd, Ron Meyer, Jay Roach, Rich Ross, Ted Sarandos, Chris Silbermann, Steven Spielberg, George Stevens, Jr., Anne Sweeney, Kevin Tsujihara, and Edward Zwick.
Thirty-two AFI Conservatory alumni were among the creative ensembles of 15 official selections.
Official sponsors included Audi, Stella Artois and American Airlines - the official airline of the American Film Institute.
Click here to read the rationales that were recorded into the American Film Institute's almanac for 2014.
More info can be found on AFI.com/afiawards. Event photos are available through Getty Images at gettyimages.com and from AFI at http://afi.com/afiawards/gallery2014.aspx as of 6:00 p.m. PT today.
SOURCE American Film Institute