'Avatar' is sitting on top of the world.

In addition to taking over the international box office and winning accolades from film critics' groups, James Cameron's modern epic has just topped the list of the American Film Institute's AFI Moments of Significance, "eight noteworthy events (that) were determined to have had an impact on the world of the moving image during the calendar year 2009." 'Avatar' is sitting on top of the world.

In addition to taking over the international box office and winning accolades from film critics' groups, James Cameron's modern epic has just topped the list of the American Film Institute's AFI Moments of Significance, "eight noteworthy events (that) were determined to have had an impact on the world of the moving image during the calendar year 2009."

According to the AFI -- which each year singles out accomplishments of considerable merit; trends; and movements in new technologies, education, preservation, government or other areas that impact the art film, television and digital media -- "James Cameron's pioneering effort to unleash the human imagination was fully realized in 2009 with the release of 'Avatar,' a film that firmly established itself as a landmark in the way stories are told ... Cameron called upon the forces of art and technology to create new tools for storytelling that are groundbreaking in both scope and scale ... an achievement that will have profound effects on the future of the art form."

The AFI also singled out:

•Twitter as the new watercooler with the widespread use of the social network in the marketing of films, television and celebrities
•The Leno experiment and the loss of drama, with the elimination of five hours weekly of primetime dramas when NBC programmed 'The Jay Leno Show' Monday through Friday at 10 p.m.
•Reality TV and the loss of boundaries as "Balloon Boy" and "Octomom" crossed the border from reality to reality TV
• The end of analog TV
• A year of extraordinary animation with the release of 'The Princess and the Frog,' 'Coraline,' 'Fantastic Mr. Fox,' '9,' 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,' 'Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,''Monsters vs. Aliens,' 'Up' and others
•'This Is It' and the death of Michael Jackson
• A record year at the box office as the movies proved a tonic for economic woes during the recession

The AFI has always stood for the best in the worlds of film, television and digital media; in addition to its important film campus in Los Angeles, its annual film festival, and its conferences and support of the moving image, the organization puts together the "AFI's 100 Years ..." series and the top 10 "AFI Movies of the Year" and "AFI Television Programs of the Year." The AFI Moments of Significance have been put together as an "almanac" of important events since 2000.
CATEGORIES Movies, Awards