AFI Awards Luncheon Postponed Amid COVID Spike

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The 2022 AFI Awards luncheon is the latest Hollywood event to be postponed due to a surge of positive COVID-19 cases as the Omicron variant spreads.

The awards ceremony was planned for Friday, Jan. 7, but, in a release late Monday, the American Film Institute (AFI) announced plans to reschedule the event for a later date “in response to the rising concerns over current health conditions.” According to the Associated Press, the CDC has reported that Omicron is now most common coronavirus variant in U.S., accounting for nearly three-quarters of COVID-19 cases.

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“The goal of AFI Awards is to bring together the creative community at a private event founded in hugs and handshakes,” AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale stated. “Because that goal is not achievable at this time, we will be postponing the event until we can properly celebrate the artists in a manner worthy of the gifts they have given the world.”

Earlier this month, AFI announced its top 10 films and television programs, which were “deemed culturally and artistically representative of the year.” AFI’s movies of the year are “CODA,” “Don’t Look Up,” “Dune,” “King Richard,” “Licorice Pizza,” “Nightmare Alley,” “The Power of the Dog,” “Tick, Tick … Boom!,” “The Tragedy of Macbeth” and “West Side Story.” The television programs of the year are “Hacks,” “Maid,” “Mare of Easttown,” “Reservation Dogs,” “Schmigadoon!,” “Succession,” “Ted Lasso,” “The Underground Railroad,” “WandaVision” and “The White Lotus.”

Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” was recognized with an AFI Special Award, as internationally-produced films don’t typically qualify for a top 10 listing. Also earning Special Award status were Netflix’s “Squid Games” and the documentary “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised),” directed by Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson.

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