Top Gun: Maverick - Photo courtesy of chingyunsong on Shutterstock

The much-anticipated “Avatar: The Way of Water,” Tom Cruise’s box-office smash “Top Gun: Maverick,” and small-screen hits “Abbott Elementary” and “Better Call Saul” were among the outstanding films and television programs named Friday as recipients of the American Film Institute Awards for 2022.

The AFI Awards recognize movies and TV programs that are “deemed culturally and artistically representative of this year’s most significant achievements in the art of the moving image,” according to the organization.

Along with “Avatar” and “Top Gun,” films receiving the AFI honor were “Elvis,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “The Fablemans,” “Nope,” “She Said,” “Tár,” “The Woman King” and “Women Talking.”

Other TV programs making the cut were “The Bear,” “Hacks,” “Mo,” “Pachinko,” “Reservation Dogs,” “Severance,” “Somebody Somewhere” and “The White Lotus.”

The AFI also presented a “Special Award” to the Irish film “The Banshees of Inisherin.” The special award is “designated for works of excellence that fall outside of AFI Awards’ eligiblity criteria.”

“AFI Awards shines a light upon excellence in storytelling and the collaborators who bring these stories to the screen,” Bob Gazzale, AFI president and CEO, said in a statement.

“This year, more than ever, celebrating the community of artists that realize these dreams is particularly meaningful — as they have lifted our spirits through the most challenging of times and proven the power of this great art form.”

The honorees will be recognized during a private luncheon Feb. 13 at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills.

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