The AFI's top movie picks are "About a Boy," "About Schmidt," "Adaptation," "Antwone Fisher," "Chicago," "Frida," "Gangs of New York," "The Hours," "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" and "The Quiet American."
The organization's choices for TV programs of the year -- including both series and TV movies -- are "The Believer," "Boomtown," "Door to Door," "Everybody Loves Raymond," "The Gathering Storm," "Gilmore Girls," "The Simpsons," "Six Feet Under," "The Sopranos" and "The West Wing."
An AFI jury also came up with a list of the top "moments of significance" during 2002. The list includes the growing consumer acceptance of DVD, the phenomenal box-office success of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the popularity of the TV shows "American Idol" and "The Osbournes" and the death of filmmaker Billy Wilder.
The organization makes its choices using a jury process in which a panel of scholars, artists, critics and AFI trustees determine the most outstanding achievements through discussion and debate. In addition to the final selections, the juries also explain their rationale for choosing the top movies, TV shows and significant moments on the year in film and TV.
The names of the jurors are listed at the AFI Web site (AFI.com), along with their reasoning behind their selections.
The film jury called "About a Boy" a "pure comic pleasure," and praised "About Schmidt" for putting "a new face on film satire, embodied in a towering performance by Jack Nicholson." The panel said "Adaptation" is "both entertaining and intelligent" and "mercilessly destroys an audience's expectations and demands that it keep up ... keep laughing ... or be cut out of the final draft."
Denzel Washington's feature film directorial debut "Antwone Fisher," said the jury, "provides a clarion call for all films that strive to bring unspoken topics into the national conversation." The judges said that the musical "Chicago" gives contemporary moviegoers "the 'old razzle dazzle' with an explosion of talent and energy that dares them not to applaud after each musical number."
The jury called "Frida" a "movie about art that is a work of art in itself," and said director Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York" is "bravura filmmaking by an American master."
The panel said "The Hours" -- starring Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore -- "provides further proof that film is the language of the 21st century." They said that "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" is "an epic screen experience that will inspire awe in generations of movie lovers for years to come."
The jury singled out Michael Caine -- "the most consistently reliable actor in American film" -- in selecting "The Quiet America" for its list of the top movies of 2002.
In choosing the growing consumer preference for DVD or VHS as a "significant moment," the jury said the trend "inspires filmmakers and studios to invest time, effort and money in presenting additional materials for films old and new." Access to such material, said the jury, "represents a significant step in film education for both the general public and scholars."
The jury also singled out what it called a "crisis" in TV journalism.
"As television news has become a larger profit center for network and cable channels," said the panel, "an intensely competitive environment has increased the tendency to blur the line between news/commentary, news/entertainment and news/advocacy on all channels."
In naming the death of Billy Wilder as a moment of significance, AFI simply recited a partial list of his career highlights: Recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award (1986), winner of five Academy Awards, and creator of "several of America's greatest film achievements, including 'Sunset Blvd.," 'Double Indemnity," "The Apartment," "The Lost Weekend" and "Some Like It Hot."
The AFI is dedicated to "advancing and preserving the art of film, television and other forms of the moving image." The organization will honor the creative teams behind its top picks at a luncheon on Jan. 16 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
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