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'Gravity,' 'American Hustle' among AFI's top films of 2013

By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Existential outer-space thriller "Gravity," corruption tale "American Hustle" and independent drama "Fruitvale Station" are among the 10 best films of the year announced by the American Film Institute (AFI) on Monday, kicking off a key week in Hollywood's awards season.

The annual AFI list also picked Somali piracy thriller "Captain Phillips," slavery drama "12 Years a Slave," comedy-drama "Nebraska," futuristic romance "Her," Disney-history drama "Saving Mr. Banks," folk music comedy-drama "Inside Llewyn David" and Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" as the year's top films.

"American Hustle," "Her," and "Gravity" have been chosen as best picture by three top critics' groups in the last week, while "12 Years a Slave" won the top award at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

"Fruitvale Station," the debut feature film from 27-year-old Ryan Coogler that touches on race and the real-life shooting death of a young black man in Oakland, Calif., has won universal critical acclaim as well as awards at the Sundance and Cannes film festivals.

Notable films tabbed as Oscar contenders but left off the AFI list, which honors the year's best films but does not select an overall winner, were White House historical fiction story "The Butler" and dysfunctional family drama "August: Osage County."

AFI's top film picks, selected by critics, scholars, TV and film artists and AFI trustees, come ahead of the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations on Wednesday and Thursday.

All three sets of picks are likely to suggest films that will be in the running for the Academy Awards' best picture Oscar in March. Oscar nominations will be announced on January 16.

The AFI also chose its top 10 television shows of the year, which included political thriller "House of Cards" and prison comedy "Orange Is the New Black" from Internet streaming service Netflix.

Advertising drama "Mad Men" on cable network AMC extended its appearance on the list to a record sixth year and was joined by AMC drug drama "Breaking Bad," which won this year's Emmy for best drama. Showtime's historical sex-research drama "Masters of Sex," and HBO's political comedy "Veep" and fantasy drama "Game of Thrones" were also honored.

New series "The Americans," a Cold War spy drama, from the cable network FX also entered the list.

Political dramas "The Good Wife" on CBS and "Scandal" on ABC were the only network TV shows in the AFI top 10.

The films and TV shows chosen by the AFI jury will be honored on January 10 in Los Angeles.

(Editing by Mary Milliken and David Gregorio)

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