The Queen actress pays tribute to Robert Altman



Chris Pizzello/associated press


Abigail Breslin


Abigail Breslin and her stuffed Curious George doll had lunch with the likes of Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood and Spike Lee at the American Film Institute’s annual awards ceremony.

The 10-year-old star of Little Miss Sunshine mingled with Hollywood heavyweights with the ease of an industry veteran. Her mom, Kim Breslin, held onto Curious George while Abigail posed for photos.

Friday’s AFI luncheon in Beverly Hills was the latest stop on Abigail’s awards-season travels. She was at the Palm Springs Film Festival last week, and today she heads to the Golden Globes.

She said she’s enjoying the spotlight — Sunshine is nominated for a slew of awards and she earned a best supporting-actress nod from the Screen Actors Guild — but if acting doesn’t work out, she’d like to be a veterinarian.

Helen Mirrin

Despite Curious George’s attendance, the AFI lunch wasn’t all kids stuff. Golden Globe nominee Helen Mirren, lauded by critics everywhere for her performance in The Queen, closed the program with a moving tribute to director Robert Altman, who died in November.

"He had an incredibly strong, courageous, fierce independence of mind. You could see that in his films and in his life," she said. "I salute the great master, the great mind, the great man, Robert Altman."

The AFI Awards, announced earlier, recognize 10 outstanding films and television programs as chosen by a panel of producers, critics, scholars and AFI trustees.

Besides Little Miss Sunshine, the films honoured were Babel, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, The Devil Wears Prada, Dreamgirls, Half Nelson, Happy Feet, Inside Man, Letters from Iwo Jima and United 93.