2016 AFI Awards Honor ‘La La Land,’ ‘Moonlight,’ ‘Stranger Things,’ And O.J.

Well, the AFI always finds a way to mix things up. While many of their choices played out as expected (I got 8 out of 10 film selections and a less impressive 5 out of 10 television selections), they still found a way to throw a wrench into things, keeping the overall awards season fairly interesting.

In the film category, things played out in a mostly safe way. Expected frontrunners Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea and La La Land each received a spot on the Top Ten list. Joining it were expected choices Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, and Hell or High Water. And I was also correct in their ability to view Silence, with it also appearing. However, it turns out they weren’t feeling the love for Loving (I’m sorry), and they didn’t sell out by picking Patriots’ Day. Instead, they played things safe by choosing Sully, and added a twist to things by picking the fantastic Zootopia, following in the footsteps of Inside Out, Toy Story 3 and Up. Having seen seven of the ten films listed, I can say that this seems like a pretty solid list. If I had any qualms, I’d say that Hacksaw Ridge and Sully are just barely on the positive side of “average,” but I can at least understand why people liked them, and can get on board. Nothing here is American Sniper bad, for example.

In television, things were a little more interesting. The Americans, Game of Thrones and The People vs. OJ Simpson each received obvious nominations, as did my surprise guesses Atlanta and The Night Of. However, everything else played out a little…differently. Veep and Better Call Saul received nods last year, and I should have remembered how popular This Is Us and Stranger Things were, because those two are huge cultural phenomenons. The one I didn’t see coming was The Crown, which I start watching very soon, and hope will be good. I don’t really have any major complaints with this list, other than what they didn’t have room for. So all in all, these are two solid lists.

One final thing to observe about this list: there was also a Special Prize awarded to O.J.: Made In America, as the perfect combination of film and television. This is a well-deserved award, and also a clear sign that this is your Documentary frontrunner. If you haven’t yet, check it out. It’s an incredible film/series.

You can see the full list of Honorees below:

AFI Movies of the Year

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight
  • Silence
  • Sully
  • Zootopia

AFI TV Programs of the Year

  • The Americans
  • Atlanta
  • Better Call Saul
  • The Crown
  • Game of Thrones
  • The Night Of
  • The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story
  • Stranger Things
  • This Is Us
  • Veep

AFI Special Award

  • O.J.: Made In America

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