Sunday, January 3, 2016

Ten Best Films' 2015 Mini-Poll

1. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller)
76 points (AZ, KW, MS, RS, SB)
2. The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-hsien)
71 points (LB, MA, ML, RS)
3. Cemetery of Splendour (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
58 points (MA, ML, RS)
4. Phoenix (Christian Petzold, 2014)
54 points (KW, MA, RS)
5. Carol (Todd Haynes)
49 points (KW, MA, RS)
5. Ex Machina (Alex Garland)
49 points (AZ, KW, MS, SB)
7. The Duke of Burgundy (Peter Strickland, 2014)
46 points (AZ, LB, MS)
7. Taxi (Jafar Panahi)
46 points (LB, MA, ML)
9. Tangerine (Sean Baker)
42 points (KW, MS, SB)
10. Out 1: Noli me Tangere (Jacques Rivette, 1971)
37 points (LB, MA)

Also receiving multiple votesInside Out (Pete Docter) - 36 points (MS, SB), Bridge of Spies (Steven Spielberg) - 33 points (MS, SB), It Follows (David Robert Mitchell, 2014) - 32 points (AZ, SB), Love (Gaspar Noé) - 30 points (AZ, ML)Clouds of Sils Maria (Olivier Assayas, 2014) - 29 points (KW, LB), Jauja (Lisandro Alonso, 2014) - 29 points (LB, MA)Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong Sang-soo) - 28 points (MA, RS)Magic Mike XXL (Gregory Jacobs) - 27 points (LB, RS)The Big Short (Adam McKay) - 26 points (KW, SB), The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson) - 26 points (LB, ML)Office (Johnnie To) - 25 points (ML, RS)

Eights years into the Ten Best Films' Mini-Poll, and we're down to all but the die-hards now, to eight NYU Cinema Studies masters' program alumni (circa 2005) who have managed, against all odds, to participate in every survey. What we lack for in numbers at this point, however, we seem to be making up for in greater consensus -- at least in this year of Mad Max and The Assassin and Carol, to name but three worthy (if predictable) favorites. In fact, in comparison to last year, when three or more voters agreed on a mere five films, this year we came together on nine of our top ten, and overall, there were two or more votes for 20 films. Like I said, a year of consensus.

Except when it comes to our choices for best film, where only one film was selected by more than one voter (Cemetery of Splendour, by Mike Lyon and R. Emmet Sweeney). Other choices included: The Assassin, Carol, Inside Out, It Follows, Li'l Quinquin (which received an additional first place vote last year), and Lost and Beautiful -- respectable choices all, if I do say so myself. Speaking of Cemetery of Splendour, it was, along with the 44 year-old Out 1, one of the two films selected as top three by each of their two or more voters. Interestingly, our winner Mad Max: Fury Road, finished no higher than third on any of this year's ballots, and averaged roughly a sixth place finish. Even more notable for the lack of passion it generated was Ex Machina, which placed on an impressive four ballots, but never higher than seventh on any one.       

With that, I would encourage the poll's readers to click on the ballots below, with the caveat that mine links to my 2015 world premiere list and not to my (poll-fixing) ballot; for those interested in the choices I made to manipulate this year's tabulations, they were: The Assassin, Out 1, Cemetery of Splendour, Knight of Cups, Phoenix, Taxi, Jauja, No Home Movie, Right Now, Wrong Then, and Carol. All films I saw for the first time since last year's poll.

Here's to another great year of film-viewing, and to the hopes that we will be doing this once again a year from now. At the very least we need to hit double-digits for the world's least prominent film poll, right?

Contributors: Alberto Zambenedetti (AZ), Lisa K. Broad (LB), Karen Wang (KW), Michael J. Anderson (MA), Mike Lyon (ML), Matt Singer (MS), R. Emmet Sweeney (RS), Soren Bailey (SB)

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