Tree of Life

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Oscar Watch

The Golden Globes get a lot attention, but it'd be a mistake not to pay more attention to the American Film Institute Awards.   

The AFI's voting pool is small, but influential, and, unlike the Globes, some of its blue-ribbon panelists are potential Oscar voters, too. (Hello, Whoopi Goldberg!)

All of this means Sunday's developments were very, very good news for Brad Pitt—and bad news for another A-lister's new film...

Two Pitt films, Moneyball and The Tree of Life, made the AFI's movies of the year list. For what it's worth, Tree of Life also got love from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (Best Director, Best Picture runner-up, etc.), while Moneyball earned kudos from the Boston writers (Best Actor, Best Screenplay), who likewise announced their 2011 standouts this weekend. 

So who isn't celebrating a handful of critical kudos this weekend?

Sandra Bullock's and Tom Hanks' Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close didn't get anything—from the AFI, or elsewhere. 

While the 9/11 drama has been notoriously under wraps, it wasn't so under wraps that AFI voters didn't see it. The movie was screened; it just didn't get the votes. And while the likes of George Clooney's The Ides of March didn't get the votes, either, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, more than any other film passed over by the AFI, has been considered a top Best Picture contender by oddsmakers.

Or will that soon be, it had been considered a top contender?

MORE: Best Harry Potter Movie Moments Ever!

Last year, every AFI drama pick, save The Town, ended up with a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. (This includes Special Awards selection The King's Speech.) Or to put it another way: No film snubbed by the AFI got un-snubbed by the Academy.

Because Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is an A-plus-list film, it'd be a shock if didn't pull weight with the starry-eyed Hollywood Foreign Press. Or to put it another way: It's probably not going to get shut out of Thursday's Globe nominations.

But it really could've used that AFI seal of approval.

Other notes on the weekend:

Like The King's Speech, The Artist was considered a non-American film by the AFI—so, that's why it's missing from the group's Top 10 list. The important thing is, though, Uggie and company got a Special Awards nod. As far as The Artist is concerned, that's just as good.

Harry Potter did—and didn't—get meaningful AFI love. While the franchise was honored with a Special Award, Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which was considered an American movie, despite its abundance of British accents, could've benefited from a shout-out on the main list. The Academy, after all, isn't going to give Potter a prize for being the world's most successful movie series (even if, ahem, it is).

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