It’s that time of year again where various ‘top tens’ and ‘best of’ lists start to be released by media sources great and small. The prestigious AFI (American Film institute) are the latest group to release their choices for the ten best American movies in 2012. While not always in exact correlation, a group as influential as the AFI may give us a good early indication of movies being considered for Best Picture nods at the Academy Awards, which will be announced on January 10th.
The AFI’s movies of the year, in alphabetical order, are as follows:
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
LIFE OF PI
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
ZERO DARK THIRTY
The notable exception from that list is Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, a movie which though not universally praised like much of the director’s previous output, will no still doubt rank fairly highly on many critic’s end of year lists. There are a number of sources, such as First Showing who have questioned the inclusion of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises in the above list at the expense of the likes of The Master. Personally, I feel that despite not quite reaching the dizzying heights of The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises was still a solid and memorable movie which brought a fitting end to one of the twenty-first century’s finest trilogies. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it nominated for several awards at the Oscars, partly out of appreciation for the trilogy as a whole, but can’t see it coming close to any of the top prizes.
There are a number of movies in the AFI’s list which are still yet to be released over here in the UK so perhaps it’s worth making a note in your diaries of their release date. Ang Lee’s Life of Pi is out on the 20th December, Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables on the 11th January, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained on the 18th January and both Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty on the 25th January.
I’d be very surprised if Lincoln and Les Miserables in particular weren’t given some fairly hefty Oscar coverage, though the former may be more likely to triumph in the Best Actor category with Daniel Day Lewis’ performance as the former President reportedly as brilliant as one might expect. Beasts of the Southern Wild has been touted by many as a credible underdog for a Best Picture nod, but I think Zero Dark Thirty may slowly be becoming the favourite as a whole host of critical groups have now chosen it as their film of the year. Last week both the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle joined the ranks of those lining up to praise Kathryn Bigelow’s action thriller.
I’d be surprised if the final nominees for Best Picture came from outside of the AFI’s top ten, with only The Master a possible wild-card entry, and the momentum is definitely with Zero Dark Thirty at the moment. Well keep you posted with any further Academy Awards news, with January 10th earmarked for the announcement of nominees.