AFI Postpones Awards Announcement to Consider 'Star Wars'

David James/Lucasfilm/Disney
'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

The AFI said it was making the change “to ensure the jury has the proper opportunity to screen the unusual amount of late releases this year.”

The American Film Institute is postponing the announcement of its AFI Awards until Dec 16 — which means that the film jury will be able to consider Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which premieres Dec. 14.

The AFI previously set Dec. 7 as the date for its annual award announcement, but Tuesday said it is postponing the announcement for more than a week until Dec. 16. The AFI said it was making the change “to ensure the jury has the proper opportunity to screen the unusual amount of late releases this year.”

While there are a number of films like David O. Russell’s Joy and Alejandro G. Inarritu’s The Revenant that will hit theaters in December but have not yet started screening for critics and awards group, the big unknown at the moment is J. J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Force Awakens is set to have its world premiere in Los Angeles on Dec. 14 in advance of Dec. 18 opening. But before that, Disney is not rushing to show the film to the first wave of critics and awards groups that start rolling out their best-of-year awards in early December.

The AFI Awards are chosen annually by two juries — one for film and one for TV — and cite ten feature films and ten TV programs as the year’s best. The AFI will hold its celebratory luncheon honoring those chosen on Jan. 8, the date that it had previously announced.

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