Celebs start their awards-season schmoozing at AFI Awards

AP News
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Posted: Jan 08, 2016 6:25 PM
Celebs start their awards-season schmoozing at AFI Awards

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The American Film Institute celebrated the year's best movies and TV shows by providing their stars and creators a chance to schmooze over lunch.

Ryan Gosling chatted to Fox Studios chief Jim Gianopulos; "Straight Outta Compton" director F. Gary Gray snapped a selfie with Steven Spielberg; and "The Force Awakens" director J.J. Abrams held court at a table inside the Four Seasons Hotel ballroom Friday at the annual AFI Awards.

"This is a campaign-free zone," AFI president Bob Gazzale joked as the glad-handing and deal-making in the room quieted to a hush. "You don't have to thank anybody. We are here to thank you."

AFI trustees ran down the organization's list of 2015 television and film honorees, showing clips and giving glowing words about each. The 10 winning movies and 11 TV shows — including a special award for "Mad Men" — were announced last month.

The aim of the luncheon, Gazzale said, is to make the talent behind these works "feel appreciated and part of the community."

But early awards-season schmoozing clearly tops the agenda.

The entertainment community turned out in force, with studio heads such as Paramount's Brad Grey and Universal's Donna Langley mixing with stars such as Christian Bale, Claire Danes, Aziz Ansari and Tracee Ellis Ross.

Gazzale quipped that the luncheon ceremony is "the only event of its kind: where you do not have to buy a seat to be honored."

Award shows such as Sunday's Golden Globes charge guests hundreds of dollars for admission to the celebration, a cost typically absorbed by studios and networks.

Oscar-winning screenwriter Robert Towne toasted the 21 new AFI award winners.

The television honorees were: "The Americans," ''Better Call Saul," ''Black-ish," ''Empire," ''Fargo," ''Game of Thrones," ''Homeland," ''Master of None," ''Mr. Robot," ''Unreal" and "Mad Men."

Film winners were: "The Big Short," ''Bridge of Spies," ''Carol," ''Inside Out," ''Mad Max: Fury Road," ''The Martian," ''Room," ''Spotlight," ''Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and "Straight Outta Compton."

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