DAILY | Avalanche! 2012 Polls, Lists, and Awards

Ah, the big, big polls. We’ve seen the results of the best-of-2012 polls conducted by Sight & Sound and Film Comment; now two more are in: Indiewire and the Village Voice. “With 128 votes among 204 critics listed in Indiewire‘s Criticwire network, Leos Carax’s surreal opus Holy Motors topped Indiewire‘s seventh annual poll for Best Film,” announces IW‘s Eric Kohn. “Holy Motors star Denis Lavant garnered the most votes for Best Performance.”

The Master

Kent Jones’s essay on ‘The Master’ for Film Comment is one of the most-mentioned pieces of film criticism in Criticwire’s survey of the best of 2012

And, from the Voice‘s new chief film critic, Scott Foundas: “Squeaking by with an Obama 2012–size victory margin, Paul Thomas Anderson’s thrillingly strange The Master tops this year’s Voice Film Critics’ Poll.” The Master tops Karina Longworth‘s annotated ten as well; in all, 86 critics cast ballots. “As usual, the official results tell only a partial tale. If we fire up the venerable Passiondex™, former Voice critic J. Hoberman‘s patented algorithm for divining from the poll results which films elicited the most fervent feelings (pro and con), a new hierarchy begins to emerge. Taking into account only the weighted ballots (76 of the 86 cast), the Passiondex multiplies a film’s average score by the percentage of voters who deemed it either the #1 or #2 best film of the year or picked it as the worst. Applying this Hobermath™ to the top 20 films in this year’s poll, Quentin Tarantino’s slavery burlesque Django Unchained (#17) leapfrogs to the top of the list, followed by Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, The Turin Horse, The Master, and Zero Dark Thirty. Also getting a boost, David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis (#16) rises to sixth place, and Jacques Audiard’s maritime melodrama Rust and Bone (#20) moves up to seventh.”

At Criticwire, Matt Singer notes that, “while the rankings vary, the two polls actually agree on nine out of the top ten movies of 2012. The only top tenner from Indiewire missing from the Voice‘s best-of list: Benh Zeitlin’s somewhat divisive Beasts of the Southern Wild, which ranked seventh on Indiewire‘s list but just thirteenth on the Voice‘s. Its spot in the Voice top ten was filled by Miguel Gomes‘s Tabu.”

Speaking of Criticwire, Matt, who’s posted his own top ten (with trailers), popped an excellent question on contributors the other day: “What was the best piece of film criticism you read in 2012?” The answers are rich and plentiful, and best of all, there are links to nearly all the pieces mentioned. Bookmark that page, and you’ve got your holiday reading right there.

The AV Club film critics—Sam Adams, Mike D’Angelo, Noel Murray, Keith Phipps, Nathan Rabin, Tasha Robinson, Scott Tobias, and Alison Willmore—have put together a top 20, each justified with a well-argued paragraph. Their #1: The Master.

Same goes for the L Magazine, though their list goes to 25. What’s more, you can read annotated individual ballots from Nicolas Rapold, Benjamin Mercer, Henry Stewart, and Jesse Hassenger.

Back to Sight & Sound for a moment: 28 critics and producers write up the “DVDs and Blu-rays of 2012.”

Movie City News is tracking individual top tens from, among many, many others, Mike D’Angelo, Carrie Rickey, and James Rocchi. Points are assigned, films are ranked, and the race is ongoing.


This year\’s other limo movie

Cosmopolis tops Ryland Walker Knight‘s list of ten. The Observer‘s Philip French selects ten, listed in no particular order. Vadim Rizov looks back on his year of repertory screenings. Stephen Saito writes up his favorite undistributed films of the year.

The Phoenix and critics weigh in. Lists at HitFix: Gregory Ellwood and Kristopher Tapley.

At Movie Morlocks, keelsetter looks back on the year in documentaries. And at GreenCine Daily, Steve Dollar hails the “Underdogs” of 2012.

“Maybe more meaningful than my top 10 favorite films of the year, here are 10 that you’ll have to go out of your way for,” offers NPR’s Linda Holmes.

Awards. “Two of the year’s major festival hits, Michael Haneke‘s Amour and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, will lead the charge for the annual London Film Critics’ Circle awards with seven nominations each,” reports the Guardian‘s Ben Child.

And critics organizations from coast to coast have been meeting, voting, and often tweeting the results. Awards are in from the Chicago Film Critics Association (their Best Picture: Zero Dark Thirty), the San Francisco Film Critics Circle (The Master), the Toronto Film Critics Association (Master), the Austin Film Critics Association (ZDT), the Las Vegas Film Critics Society (Life of Pi), the Kansas City Film Critics Circle (Master), the African-American Film Critics Association (ZDT), the Southeastern Film Critics’ Association (Argo), the St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association (Argo), the Indiana Film Journalists Association (Safety Not Guaranteed), the Dallas-Ft. Worth Film Critics Association (Lincoln), and the Florida Film Critics Circle (Argo).

Meantime, “David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook was the big winner at the 17th annual Satellite Awards,” notes the Hollywood Reporter‘s Gregg Kilday. “Presented by the International Press Academy, which includes the European Critics Association, the ceremony saw Playbook take home five awards, including best motion picture. Russell was named best director and the movie’s stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were hailed as best actor and actress, respectively. The film also picked up a trophy for editing by Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers.”

Lists and Awards 2012: Index. For news and tips throughout the day every day, follow @KeyframeDaily on Twitter and/or the RSS feed. Get Keyframe Daily in your inbox by signing in at

Did you like this article?
Give it a vote for a Golden Bowtie


Keyframe is always looking for contributors.

"Writer? Video Essayist? Movie Fan Extraordinaire?

Fandor is streaming on Amazon Prime

Love to discover new films? Browse our exceptional library of hand-picked cinema on the Fandor Amazon Prime Channel.