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WETA, 20th Century Fox

James Cameron's Avatar may be too big—and, per press-screening buzz, too good—to count out. But The Hurt Locker is the film that's throwing its weight around right now.

Kathryn Bigelow's little Iraq war movie that could added to its haul of critics honors today with a spot among the American Film Institute's Movies of the Year award-winners.

Cameron's Avatar, expected to be an Oscar player, was a high-profile no-show on the Top 10 list,  as was Clint Eastwood's Invictus.

On the TV front—the AFI puts in it two cents on prime-time matters, too—the group honored Glee, True Blood and eight other series (but, sorry, not Dexter).

A look inside the awards:

Two animated films made the Top 10: Up, which wasn't a surprise, and Coraline, which was only a surprise in that its profile wasn't nearly as high as the Pixar entry's. 

The Hangover was comedy's lone representative. (And yes, that means no Julie & Julia or (500) Days of Summer.)

Sugar, a little, but much-loved baseball drama, was the sports genre's lone representative. (And, yes, that means nothing for The Blind Side.)

Precious and Up in the Air did what Oscar front-runners are supposed to do: keep looking like Oscar front-runners.

The good news for Avatar is that, last year, future Oscar-king Slumdog Millionaire didn't make the AFI list, either. The bad news is Slumdog simply wasn't eligible. (The AFI judges American films only). The worst news is The Dark Knight, big and popcorn-y, like Avatar, didn't make the list—and wound up not making the Academy's Best Picture list, either.

If AFI juries voted for the Emmys, the Emmys would be a lot more interesting. Only one show—Mad Men—was a hold-over honoree from 2008. The Office, Breaking Bad and In Treatment were the three still-running shows that dropped out of the group's Top 10 for 2009.

It was a good day for Jane Lynch. In addition to Glee, Party Down, the Starz comedy about caterers on which she appeared, also made the TV cut.

Here's a complete rundown of the AFI Awards 2009:

Film (alphabetical order)


The Hangover

The Hurt Locker

The Messenger

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

A Serious Man

A Single Man



Up in the Air

TV (alphabetical order):

The Big Bang Theory

Big Love

Friday Night Lights


Mad Men

Modern Family

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

Nurse Jackie

Party Down

True Blood


Having trouble keeping all the award-season flicks straight? Check out our Totally New Releases gallery.