Well, for the two of you pinheads who actually were thinking that, rejoice. The American Film Institute is teaming up with CBS to air its inaugural film and TV awards, which it hopes will become a major player in the Oscar-season trophy blitz. The first-ever ceremony will air in a live, three-hour broadcast January 5--that's two weeks before NBC's Golden Globes ceremony and two months before ABC's Oscar telecast.
AFI, the nonprofit group responsible for a host of yearly best-of lists including "100 Years...100 Thrills" and "100 Years...100 Laughs", will honor actors and directors with its new ceremony. The organization will also name off the top 10 films of the year--a tradition it began last January--and use the opportunity to run down the year's film and TV highlights.
The awards handed out at the Beverly Hilton Hotel will be voted on by two 13-member committees (one for film, one for TV) which will convene in December to decide the nominations. The committees, made up of AFI trustees, artists, historians and critics, will then hand the nominee list to a jury of 100 "film and TV experts," who then make the final call.
The AFI fest joins an already crowded list of critics awards, guild honors and people's choice kudos handed out during the frenzied months leading up to the Oscars. (E! is teaming with the Broadcast Film Critics Association to air the group's Critics Choice Awards, slated to debut in January.)
But AFI director Jean Picker Firstenberg hopes the new show will "add another volume to the history of American film and television by creating an almanac of annual achievement for future generations."
Of course, not everyone sees it that way. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took the opportunity to make a few sarcastic pokes at AFI's plans.
"I think [AFI] fills a crying need," executive director Bruce Davis sniped to the Associated Press. "In past years there have been three-day stretches in January when no one hosted a movie awards show and I think this fills that gap nicely."
AFI has already mastered the best-of list. In an effort to pay tribute to American cinema, the organization has introduced four "100 Years" best-of lists: "100 Years...100 Movies" in 1998, "100 Years...100 Stars" in 1999, "100 Years...100 Laughs" in 2000 and "100 Years...100 Thrills earlier this year. Like the new awards ceremony, AFI's specials have aired on CBS.