Tomorrow morning the AFI announces their top ten American films of the year. There are two big precursors right now that can give you a pretty good idea of how Best Picture might go and they’re all announcing at once. Tomorrow, the American Film Institute puts out its top ten nominees for best films of 2011.

Since 2012 has been a better year for American studio films, there should be similarities between this year’s selections. One of their strangest moments was in 2006, when they failed to name The Departed as one of their best films – it then went on to win Best Picture. But usually when the favorite to win is an American production, usually it will show up here first.

In their selection last year, the big budget comedy hit Bridesmaids got in, which means that there’s a good chance a big movie that isn’t a critics’ darling might be named, like Skyfall or This is 40, or The Avengers.  They named There Will Be Blood and the Hurt Locker, but not Inglourious Basterds. They named The Fighter and they named Munich.   They named The 40 Year-Old Virgin and Bridesmaids.

To that end, I fully expect these ten to be named tomorrow:

Argo
Zero Dark Thirty
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Master
Life of Pi
Flight
This is Forty
Moonrise Kingdom
Alternates Les Miserables (but is it an American production?), Django Unchained (did they see it time?)

In 2011, 7/10 went on to win Best Picture.

Moneyball*
Bridesmaids
The Help*
The Descendants*
Midnight in Paris*
Hugo*
J Edgar
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
War Horse*
Tree of Life*

In 2010, 9/10 went on to be nominated:

Black Swan*
The Fighter*
Inception*
The Kids Are All Right*
127 Hours*
The Social Network*
The Town
Toy Story 3*
True Grit*
Winter’s Bone*

In 2009, five went on to be nominated in a ten Best Picture year.

2009
Coraline
The Hangover
The Hurt Locker+
The Messenger
Precious*
A Serious Man*
A Single Man
Sugar
Up*
Up in the Air*

In 2008, 3 of 5 potential:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button*
The Dark Knight
Frost/Nixon*
Frozen River
Gran Torino
Iron Man
Milk*
Wall-E
Wendy and Lucy
The Wrestler

2007 4/5:
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Into the Wild
Juno*
Knocked Up
Michael Clayton*
No Country for Old Men+
Ratatouille
The Savages
There Will Be Blood*

2006 3/5
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*
Little Miss Sunshine*
United 93
(NO DEPARTED)

AFI Top 10 Films of 2005 (5/5)
Brokeback Mountain*
Capote*
Crash+
The 40 Year-Old Virgin
Good Night, and Good Luck*
A History of Violence
King Kong
Munich*
The Squid and the Whale
Syriana

AFI Top 10 Films of 2004 3/5
The Aviator*
Collateral
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Friday Night Lights
The Incredibles
Kinsey
Maria Full of Grace
Million Dollar Baby+
Sideways*
Spider-Man 2

AFI Top 10 Films of 2003 (4/5)
American Splendor
Finding Nemo
The Human Stain
In America
The Last Samurai
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King+
Lost in Translation*
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World*
Monster
Mystic River*

AFI Top 10 Films of 2002 (4/5)
About a Boy
About Schmidt
Adaptation
Antwone Fisher
Chicago+
Frida
Gangs of New York*
The Hours*
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers*
The Quiet American

AFI Top 10 Films of 2001 (4/5)
A Beautiful Mind+
Black Hawk Down
In the Bedroom*
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring*
The Man Who Wasn’t There
Memento
Monster’s Ball
Moulin Rouge*
Mulholland Drive
Shrek

AFI Top 10 Films of 2000 (3/5)
Almost Famous
Before Night Falls
Best in Show
Erin Brockovich*
Gladiator+
High Fidelity
Requiem for a Dream
Traffic*
Wonder Boys
You Can Count on Me

Read more: American Film Institute’s Top 10 Films of the Year — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/ipea/A0878236.html#ixzz1fyw0qb6o