American Film Institute honors Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’ with special award

Published December 9, 2021, 10:06 AM

by Jonathan Hicap

The American Film Institute (AFI) announced its honorees for the 2021 AFI Awards and one of them is Netflix’s global hit Korean series “Squid Game.”

AFI’s honorees are 10 outstanding movies and 10 outstanding TV programs. “Squid Game,” “Belfast” and “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” are AFI’s recipients of special awards.

Among the American Film Institute Awards honorees are “Squid Game” and “CODA” (AFI, Netflix, Apple TV+)

The 20 awardees in film and TV are “deemed culturally and artistically representative of this year’s most significant achievements in the art of the moving image,” the AFI said.

“Additional honorees were selected in a category for ‘Special Awards,’ designated for works of excellence that fall outside of the Institute’s criteria of American film and television,” it added.

AFI president Bob Gazzale said, “AFI is honored to shine a proper light upon the most outstanding screen stories of 2021 and those who worked collaboratively to bring them to screens large and small. From soaring in spirit to dark and dangerous – from heartbreaking to hilarious – these are the stories that have united us in uncertain times and continue to drive culture forward.”

The awardees will be honored on Jan. 7 next year at a private reception.

Here are the recipients of the American Film Institute Awards 2021:


1. Coda

2. Don’t Look Up

3. Dune

4. King Richard

5. Licorice Pizza

6. Nightmare Alley

7. The Power of the Dog

8. Tick, Tick… Boom!

9. The Tragedy Of Macbeth

10. West Side Story


1. Hacks

2. Maid

3. Mare of Easttown

4. Reservation Dogs

5. Schmigadoon!

6. Succession

7. Ted Lasso

8. The Underground Railroad

9. Wandavision

10. The White Lotus


1. Belfast

2. Squid Game

3. “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)”

Honorees were selected through a jury composed of AFI Trustees, artists, critics and scholars.

This year’s jury include Lee Isaac Chung, Liz Hannah, Anjelica Huston and Ed Zwick; renowned film historians Annette Insdorf, L.S. Kim, Akira Mizuta Lippit, Leonard Maltin, Ellen Seiter and Robert Thompson; the AFI Board of Trustees; film critics Shawn Edwards from the African American Film Critics Association and Claudia Puig from Los Angeles Film Critics Association; and film and television critics from outlets such as the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, Rolling Stone, TV Guide and The Washington Post.

The jury was chaired by AFI Board of Trustees member Jeanine Basinger (chair emerita and founder of the Film Studies Department, Wesleyan University) and AFI Board of Trustees vice chair Richard Frank (former chairman of Walt Disney Television, president of Walt Disney Studios, president of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences).