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Three Disney-Related Releases Make The American Film Institute’s Year-End Best Of Lists

American Film Institute - 2021 AFI Awards

The American Film Institute (AFI) has released its 2021 AFI AWARDS Honorees lists for film and TV, and the chosen titles include three Disney-related choices: one film, one TV, and one “Special Award” for a work of excellence that fall outside of the Institute’s criteria of American film and television.

AFI AWARDS selections are made through a jury process where AFI Trustees, artists, critics and scholars determine the year’s most outstanding achievements and provide artistic and cultural context for the selection of each honoree.


This year’s jury featured acclaimed artists including Lee Isaac Chung, Liz Hannah, Anjelica Huston and Ed Zwick; renowned film historians Annette Insdorf, L.S. Kim, Akira Mizuta Lippit, Leonard Maltin, Ellen Seiter and Robert Thompson; the AFI Board of Trustees; film critics Shawn Edwards from the African American Film Critics Association and Claudia Puig from Los Angeles Film Critics Association; and film and television critics from outlets such as the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, Rolling Stone, TV Guide and The Washington Post.

The jury was chaired by AFI Board of Trustees member Jeanine Basinger (Chair Emerita and Founder of the Film Studies Department, Wesleyan University) and AFI Board of Trustees Vice Chair Richard Frank (former Chairman of Walt Disney Television, President of Walt Disney Studios, President of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences).


On the Film lists, one of the chosen 10 for 2021 was Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story,” which was released into theaters today (Dec 10, 2021).

For TV, Marvel’s “WandaVision” on Disney+ was one of the ten titles picked to represent excellence for 2021.

Finally, Hulu’s “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” documentary film received the Special Award.


“AFI is honored to shine a proper light upon the most outstanding screen stories of 2021 and those who worked collaboratively to bring them to screens large and small,” Bob Gazzale, AFI president and CEO, said in the press release unveiling the lists. “From soaring in spirit to dark and dangerous – from heartbreaking to hilarious – these are the stories that have united us in uncertain times and continue to drive culture forward.”

Honorees will be celebrated on January 7, 2022, during a private in-person AFI Awards reception at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills.