‘Wonder Woman’ director Patty Jenkins leads AFI Awards toast



The American Film Institute’s (AFI) annual luncheon took place on Friday, recognizing the best in film and television and marking the official beginning of Hollywood’s awards season.

The celebration at the Four Seasons Hotel brought together the casts and creators of 2017′s most celebrated movies and TV shows, many of which are also in contention for the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday.

Director Patty Jenkins poses at the AFI AWARDS 2017 luncheon in Los Angeles.

"Wonder Woman" director Patty Jenkins led the honorees in a toast, during which she quoted former Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham - who is played by Meryl Streep in Steven Spielberg's "The Post", an AFI honoree and best picture nominee at the Globes.

"To love what you do and feel that it matters, how could anything be more fun?" Jenkins said. "We love what we do. It doesn't always matter - and often it doesn't - but sometimes it does, so it's always worth it to try."

Timothee Chalamet and Steven Spielberg arrive at the 2018 AFI Awards at the Four Seasons.

With winners announced in advance and no trophies to accept onstage, the AFI Awards are an opportunity for the figures in the industry to meet and mingle.

"This is a place to be together as a community," said AFI president Bob Gazzale, "to consider the compendium and feel proud."

Actors, writers, directors and executives embraced the chance to chat, with superstar mashups spontaneously erupting throughout the room.

Reese Witherspoon arrives at the 2018 AFI Awards at the Four Seasons, Friday.

"Insecure" creator and star Issa Rae greeted Universal Pictures chief Donna Langley. Jenkins was part of a woman-power trio, chatting with Reese Witherspoon and "Lady Bird" writer-director Greta Gerwig. Witherspoon and “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot shared a mutual admiration moment, with Gadot telling Witherspoon, “I’m such a big fan."

Greta Gerwig arrives at the 2018 AFI Awards at the Four Seasons, Friday.

Guillermo del Toro made Spielberg laugh. Actress Saoirse Ronan met "Master of None" writer and actress Lena Waithe. Tom Hanks posed for a photo with "The Big Sick" screenwriters Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, who playfully gave him posing tips.

Saoirse Ronan arrives at the 2018 AFI Awards at the Four Seasons, Friday.

Sterling K. Brown rearranged place cards at the "This Is Us" table so he could sit next to costar Chrissy Metz. Sam Rockwell did the same thing at the table for "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri", moving himself closer to actress Sandy Martin, who plays his mother in the film.

Sterling K. Brown and Emilia Clarke arrive at the 2018 AFI Awards at the Four Season.

"Call Me By Your Name" stars, Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet, both awards-season newcomers, stood together as they took in the celebrity-filled room.

Besides "Wonder Woman," "The Post," "Lady Bird," "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," "The Big Sick" and "Call Me By Your Name," the AFI named "The Florida Project," "Get Out," "Dunkirk" and "The Shape of Water" as its top films of 2017. Most are also up for best picture at the Globes.

Tom Hanks arrives at the 2018 AFI Awards.

AFI's TV picks also overlap with Globes nominees. Besides "Insecure," "This Is Us" and "Master of None," the AFI chose "Big Little Lies," "The Crown," "Feud: Bette and Joan," "Game of Thrones," "The Handmaid’s Tale," "The Good Place," and "Stranger Things 2." A special award was given to "The Vietnam War" TV documentary series.

Many luncheon guests will see each other throughout the weekend at the various events leading up to the Globes. Some went straight from the AFI lunch to the HBO Luxury Lounge, also at the Four Seasons, where celebs could load up on freebies.

Allison Williams arrives at the 2018 AFI Awards.

Saturday's pre-Globes events include a tea party held by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and a fundraising gala to support Sean Penn’s J/P Haitian Relief Organization.