Fantasy vied with reality on Sunday as the American Film Institute named the year's 10 best films, listing epics like The Last Samurai and the final installment of The Lord of the Rings alongside slice-of-life movies American Splendor and In America. The 10 films to win the AFI Awards 2003, listed in alphabetical order, were American Splendor, Finding Nemo, The Human Stain, In America, The Last Samurai, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Lost in Translation, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Monster, and Mystic River.
The American Film Institute names the year's 10 top films and television shows without giving rating preferences. "We don't rank them because what we want to celebrate is the creative collaboration in front and behind the camera that made these stories possible," said Jean Picker Firstenberg, AFI director and chief executive officer.
The winners of the AFI Awards in television were Alias, Angels in America, Arrested Development, Everybody Loves Raymond, Joan of Arcadia, Nip/Tuck, Playmakers, Soldier's Girl, 24, and The Wire. The AFI Awards, which were established in 2000, aim at helping to define the contest for the coveted Oscar awards, which will be given out in February. The AFI said the winners were chosen by its 13-person jury in which scholars, artists, critics, and AFI trustees discuss, debate, and determine the most outstanding achievements of the year. "I think what AFI is trying to create is an almanac for the 21st century so we can look back and see what we consider excellence in narrative storytelling in 2003," Firstenberg told Reuters.