At AFI Awards, Angela Lansbury tells Oscar and Globe hopefuls: ‘I’ve been there’

LOS ANGELES – It’s a brand new year filled with fresh Oscar and Golden Globes hopefuls – but it only takes one legend to remind an A-list crowd what’s really important.

At Friday’s AFI Awards, which honor the American Film Institute’s top 10 picks for the best work across television and film, Angela Lansbury surprised the starry crowd by giving the luncheon’s annual benediction. 

Wearing a crisp pantsuit topped with a cherry-red cardigan, the 93-year-old star stressed the importance of community.

“I took my first steps in the business on Stage 25 at the MGM lot,” she recalled. “I remember the first day I arrived there … and I never felt so alone in my life. But thank God, when I got inside I managed to make contact with a couple of terrific directors, (including) George Cukor. He was the one who launched me on a career in movies, which I never would have had had he not put me in (1944’s) ‘Gaslight.’ ”

The event, which kicked off a dizzying Globes weekend in Hollywood, is undoubted the most relaxed of the season: Everyone arrives a winner, there are no red carpet interviews and no one is required to give a speech. “The game is, there is no game. You have won,” AFI President Bob Gazzale told the crowd.

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