Al Pacino is rocking a bittersweet AFI Awards 2022 luncheon

The AFI Awards 2022 Luncheon began with a moment of silence for Lisa Marie Presley and ended with a lively Pacino beaming at the winners.

Asked why many attendees consider the event the highlight of the awards season, surprise presenter Al Pacino said at the start of his closing remarks: “I’m so happy that the AFI didn’t have an envelope for me to open and say, ‘The winner …” The Oscar-winning actor took a step back to make sure he was right, confirming with the audience that all the talent in the room were AFI Awards 2022 winners, beaming, “I’m talking to the winners now. OK!”

The AFI Awards 2022 Luncheon, held annually at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, invited the creative teams of the 10 best movies and 10 best TV shows of 2022 (plus one special award winner) according to the American Film Institute. for everyone to gather and applaud each other’s work. The emphasis on supporting each other was embedded early in the program when AFI President Bob Gazzale referenced the death of Lisa Marie Presley (“Elvis” was one of the honorees this year).

“Before we begin, let me take a moment to thank one of today’s honorees, a group of artists who attend the event with a heavy heart,” Gazzale said. “And because this event is about community, not competition, never competition, I ask that we offer each of us, not others, a moment of quiet reflection to consider our loss. Everyone who creates from inspiration. And in this silence, they will feel that we are here for them, and you will feel that they understand you.

There was a palpable sense that the venue was a safe place for actors, directors, executives and other creatives to connect without one winning an award over another. Other award-winning filmmakers such as “TÁR” and “Top Gun: Maverick” shared their condolences with the “Elvis” production team. Miles Teller, the latter film’s star and widely considered a finalist for the lead role in “Elvis,” was one of the attendees who caught up with director Baz Luhrmann on merit. The spirit of kindness also flourished with “Avatar: The Way of the Water” director James Cameron, who could be seen chatting with “Top Gun: Maverick” director Joseph Kosinski: the director who many awards pundits felt had taken the spot they had reserved. is the previous winner of the feature film category of this year’s DGA Awards nominations.

Debra L. Lee, David Zaslav, Quinta Brunson, Channing Dungey

Debra L. Lee, David Zaslav, Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, Quinta Brunson and Channing Dungey, Chairman of Warner Bros. Television attend the AFI Awards 2022 Luncheon.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

With many executives in the room, from newly reinstated Disney boss Bob Iger to distributor Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, it was interesting to see what kind of talent they were looking for from other studios. For example, “Mo” was the only award-winning Netflix project this year, but co-CEO Ted Sarandos was still at the AFI Awards, talking to people like “Top Gun: Maverick” producer Jerry Bruckheimer and “The White Lotus”. created by Mike White. Meanwhile, his colleague Bela Bajaria, head of global television at Netflix, spoke with fellow honorees such as Mike Schur, producer of “Hacks” and “Nope” star Keke Palmer. At one point during the luncheon, “Abbott Elementary” creator/star Quinta Brunson was escorted through the crowd by Zaslav and Warner Bros. TV President Channing Dungey (the ABC sitcom is a WBTV production). Zaslav also had high praise for actress Bridget Everett when Casey Bloys, president and CEO of HBO and HBO Max Content, called the executive over to say hello to the “Somebody Somewhere” table.

As the crowd turned to watch the AFI Awards 2022 March of Time, followed by clips of the honorees, the room revealed which films resonated the most. While most of the applause was reserved for the reading of the rationale and the presentation of the selected scene, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” received cheers at the mere mention of its name. “The Woman King” proved to be a crowd pleaser, and the clip of the Sony film’s opening action sequence, and the “Women Talking” clip highlighting Claire Foy’s performance left viewers speechless and in awe.

When it came time to bring out Pacino, the icon and former AFI Lifetime Achievement Award winner was stunned by the amazing artistry he had just witnessed from all the winners in the room. “I can’t speak after seeing this much power… It’s so strange I have to say.” I don’t want to drop the tone in this room,” said the actor. “But I have some stupid stories that I carry around, and I thought I’d have an interesting one here.”

Al Pacino

AFI Lifetime Achievement Award winner Al Pacino delivers the acceptance speech at the AFI Awards.

AFI/Randall Michelson

Pacino then recounted the first time he attended the Academy Awards as a Best Actor nominee for Sidney Lumet’s 1973 film Serpico. He had never previously been interested in attending the landmark Hollywood event, in fact, when it was first nominated, he skipped out because he played Michael Corleone in “The Godfather,” but he wanted to support the film. “There are all kinds of reactions when we lose the Oscars, I can give them right away,” Pacino said, trashing onlookers like Carey Mulligan (“She Said”) and Adam Scott (“Cutting”). “I was young and crazy. Drugs and alcohol were my food. I admit, they helped me through a lot,” he continued. “I don’t support it. I’m just talking here.”

Almost too drunk to function as he thought the awards show was only an hour long, Pacino thought he didn’t need to announce the winner of his category, but was informed by Jeff Bridges that he still had two hours until the show. It was worse than feeling the stages of grief and suddenly thinking, “Hey, what if I win? You know I can’t make it to the fucking stage. Best Actor winner this year? Save the Tiger star Jack Lemmon. Pacino’s reaction? “You couldn’t keep him in the seat.”

After the audience finished laughing, the actor ended his blessing of the AFI Awards 2022 with another poignant moment. “We have to do this thing, whatever we do, because it keeps us alive,” Pacino said. “I don’t think some of us could live if we couldn’t do that.” And I have to say this, this is the truth.” For his final words to those in attendance, most of whom expect this year’s awards season to be even more competitive, Pacino used a quote from tightrope walker Karl Wallenda to remind everyone that making art is what really matters: “Life is on the line. The rest is just waiting.”

See the full list of winners below.

AFI Films of the Year

“Avatar: The Path of Water”
“Everything everywhere at once”
“The Fablemen”
“no way”
“He said”
“Top Gun: Maverick”
“The King of Women”
“Women Speak”

AFI Television Shows of the Year

“Abbott Elementary”
“The bear”
“You better call Saul”
“Reservation Dogs”
“Somebody Somewhere”
“The White Lotus”

AFI Special Award

“The Banshees of Inisherin”

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