The American Film Institute has announced the honorees of the AFI Awards 2018, celebrating the most outstanding achievements in both film and television. There were ten films, ten TV series, and an AFI Special Award for Roma. These films and series were honored for what AFI considers to be culturally and artistically significant. Because Roma comes from a Mexican-born director and filmed in Mexico, the film doesn’t meet the criteria to be considered as an American film.
According to AFI, the honorees are selected based on works that advance the art of the moving image, enhance the rich cultural heritage of America’s art form, inspire audiences and artists alike and make a mark on American society.
The biggest thing of note is that none of these films are directed by women. This is unfortunate during a year that saw many strong contenders in The Rider, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Leave No Trace, You Were Never Really Here, etc. While I note that 30% of the directors are people of color. the lack of any woman is saddening to say the least. Women-directed films accounted for two titles during the awards last year. These two were Lady Bird and Wonder Woman. Going back another year earlier to 2016, no women-directed films made the list. With Can You Ever Forgive Me? making several top film lists, it is seemingly impossible to ignore the film.
I do not have the ability to see into the future but I hope the 2019 awards features at least one woman-directed film. The fact of the matter is that there are several top contenders for 2018. The mere fact that none of them even are on this list is merely saddening. All that we can really do is hope for next year to see different results. It would not surprise me if Captain Marvel is a strong contender for 2019!
AFI MOVIES OF THE YEAR
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK
MARY POPPINS RETURNS
AFI TV PROGRAMS OF THE YEAR
THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
BETTER CALL SAUL
THE KOMINSKY METHOD
THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL
THIS IS US
AFI SPECIAL AWARD
This year marks the 19th year in which AFI has issued the AFI Awards. The selections are made through a jury process that includes AFI Trustees, scholars, artists and critics.
There were two different juries this year–Tom Pollock (former Vice Chairman of MCA, Chairman of Universal Pictures) chaired the film jury while Richard Frank (former Chairman of Walt Disney Television, President of Walt Disney Studios, President of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) chaired the television jury. Both currently service as Board of Trustees Vice Chairs for the American Film Institute. According to the press release, jury members also included members of the American Film Institute board; artists such as Benioff, Joan Chen, Courtney B. Vance and Alfre Woodard; renowned authors and scholars representing prestigious universities with recognized motion picture arts and television programs; film historian Leonard Maltin; and film and television critics from media outlets such as the Los Angeles Times, NPR, Rolling Stone, TV Guide, Vanity Fair, Variety, and The Washington Post.