We only have one day to do this so let’s do it fast.
The AFI will announce their top ten of the year tomorrow. So far, we’re mostly seeing just what the critics think. We’ll have a better idea of maybe how the Oscar race is going to go – whether it will confirm the race thus far, or completely rewrite it to include the bigger studio films that make money and drive viewers to the telecast. The pundits so far have been predicting mostly a different lineup for the race, one that the critics have kind of, sort of shattered. But they’re still the critics. We don’t know if their feelings will be shared with the industry overall or not.
In short, nobody knows ANYTHING. This could be the year the pundits are ALL WRONG across the board. There is no unifying idea among varying pundits anyway. Usually there is a solid block of known films. But this year was declared “wide open,” with many of the big-name movies falling short, or disappointing – leaving room for films that came out earlier in the year to be re-evaluated. By the way, this same dynamic plays out every year only we have to relearn this lesson every year. It’s like Groundhog Day.
But might this year be very different? We have movies like Selma, Into the Woods, the Imitation Game, Gone Girl, Theory of Everything almost completely ignored by critics (except the Washington DC Film critics). We have the child/man picks of Guardians of the Galaxy and The Lego Movie in the place of actual movie movies, which complicates matters somewhat. These are perfectly fine, entertaining movies but they’re really great illustrations of the way things are changing, leaning in the direction of PG-13 fare and away from movies aimed at adults.
Academy voters, being old-timers and grownups, likely won’t go for those movies but remember, they nominated Up and Toy Story 3 for Best picture. Pixar, but still. Ten nomination slots, but still. In order for a movie to get in with the current ballot system, it would have to make a voter’s top five to get in. So even with tomorrow’s announcement of ten from the AFI and the announcement of ten from the Producers Guild, we still might not know how Oscar is going to go.
Last year I predicted these ten to be named by the AFI — and the ones that made it into the actual AFI 10 Movies of the Year are in bold:
12 Years a Slave
The Butler (they picked Fruitvale Station)
Inside Llewyn Davis
Saving Mr. Banks
The Wolf of Wall Street
So I only missed one out of ten. That isn’t bad. I wonder if I will have the same luck again tomorrow – who knows, right?
With that said, here are my predictions for the AFI’s announcement tomorrow. I invite you to enter yours as well!
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Into the Woods
Interstellar or Unbroken
The films I’m not so sure of are the two British movies: The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything. I don’t know if they qualify or not so I have to reserve judgement there.
Here are the AFI’s previous top tens – in bold are films that went on to be nominated for the Oscar – (worth noting: there are different jurors every year):
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
LIFE OF PI
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
ZERO DARK THIRTY
8 out of 9, not including Amour. Year before that:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
7 out of 9, missing Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and … The Artist, which was ineligible, like Amour last year.
The Kids Are All Right
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
These were 9/10 – missing only … The King’s Speech, also ineligible.
The Hangover (Golden Globe Award for Best Musical or Comedy Picture)
A Serious Man
A Single Man
Up (Academy Award for Best Animated Feature)
Up in the Air
The Hurt Locker (Academy Award for Best Motion Picture)