Originally created 01/24/04

Actors Eastwood, Kidman among attendees at collegial awards lunch



LOS ANGELES -- The makers of "Mystic River," "The Lord of the Rings" and "Finding Nemo" put aside awards-season competitiveness Thursday at a ceremony in which they were all winners - and no one had to give an acceptance speech.

The American Film Institute hosted a lunch for stars, directors, producers and writers to celebrate what it deemed the 10 best movies and 10 best TV shows of 2003.

Clint Eastwood, director of film honoree "Mystic River," closed the festivities with some remarks about the importance of finding joy in the filmmaking process.

"I get a little annoyed sometimes when people say, 'Oh, the hard work you put into the film' because I never considered it hard work," he said. "I've always been thankful that I was able to go to a job where I didn't have to dig a ditch or do stoop labor on a farm."

Along with "Mystic River," "Finding Nemo" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," the group's top 10 list ranged from epics such as "The Last Samurai," "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" and intimate character studies that included "Lost in Translation" and "In America."

Rounding out the AFI's top 10 were "American Splendor," "The Human Stain" and "Monster."

Many of the films are also contenders for Sunday's Golden Globe Awards and are potential nominees for the Academy Awards.

Attendees included Nicole Kidman from "The Human Stain," Charlize Theron from "Monster," Sean Astin from "The Lord of the Rings" and "In America" director Jim Sheridan, who attended with U2 singer Bono - a longtime friend who wrote the song "Time Enough For Tears" for the film.

The top television programs were "Alias," "Angels in America," "Arrested Development," "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Joan of Arcadia," "Nip/Tuck," "Playmakers," "Soldier's Girl," "24" and "The Wire."

"Alias" actor Victor Garber said the subdued nature of the event, which was not televised, helps keep the attendees down to Earth. "It's a nice acknowledgment and you're in great company. Just real people doing real things," he said.

The lists were chosen by 13-member panels of filmmakers, critics, scholars and AFI board members.