iW CRITICS POLL ’08 | “Balloon” Tops iW Poll of 100+ Critics; “Man On Wire” & “Ballast” Showcased

iW CRITICS POLL '08 | "Balloon" Tops iW Poll of 100+ Critics; "Man On Wire" & "Ballast" Showcased

EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to the indieWIRE’s transition to a new format earlier this month, this poll was unfortunately lost in cyberspace. But it is now fully restored for your reading pleasure. Our apologies for the delay.

Hou Hsiao-hsien’s “The Flight of the Red Balloon” topped indieWIRE’s annual survey of more than 100 North American film critics, which was originally published last week. It was named best film of the year and Hou was singled out as best director in a survey of 105 critics conducted last month by indieWIRE. Written by Hsiao-hsien Hou and Francois Margolin, the film was inspired by Albert Lamorisse’s classic, “The Red Balloon.” Released theatrically back in April and simultaneously on demand via cable TV, the IFC Films title debuted at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. James Marsh’s “Man on Wire,” from Magnolia Pictures, was voted the best documentary of the year in the survey.

[Overview | Results | Comments | Undistributed | Critics]

Lance Hammer’s “Ballast” was hailed as the best first feature this year, while Charlie Kaufman’s screenplay for “Synecdoche, New York” was picked as the best of the year and the critics singled out Mickey Rourke’s role in “The Wrestler” as the best performance, with Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight” as best supporting performance.

Meanwhile, the runner-up for best film, Arnaud Desplechin’s “A Christmas Tale,” from this year’s Cannes fest, also came in second in the best screenplay category. Mike Leigh’s “Happy-Go-Lucky” placed strongly in a number of categories, coming in fifth for best film.

The complete results in the 2008 indieWIRE Critics’ Poll are available now online, including the full ballots from all 105 critics, as well comments from the voters. An article about the best undistributed category was also published today.

Developed to celebrate film culture and criticism, this third annual poll by indieWIRE, conducted in recent weeks with critics casting their ballots online, focuses primarly on film critics who write for alternative outlets and online publications, including blogs. Inspired by a similar poll previously launched by the Village Voice in 1999, iW continued the survey two years ago after the Voice abandoned its popular poll, hoping to give North American cinephiles a direct opportunity to highlight the best in international cinema. The Village Voice is again working with sister publication the L.A. Weekly on a film poll this year.

“When we did our first poll in ’99, it was before the explosion of film blogs and websites,” noted former Village Voice film editor Dennis Lim last year. “There was no real counterpoint to the groupthink of critics’ circle awards and there were many critics and writers whose tastes and opinions weren’t represented in the year-end accounting.” Continuing in comments to indieWIRE last year, Lim added, “Obviously it’s a different landscape today and at this time of year especially, it can seem like there are too many lists, too many blogs, too much white noise. But even more so, you could argue, the poll serves a valuable aggregating function, by trying to tease out a consensus from a loosely defined community of serious, cinephilic writers.”

Posted below is the list of 100 films that received more than one ballot mention in the indieWIRE Critics Poll this year.

# Film Title Points Mentions
1 The Flight of the Red Balloon 495 43
2 A Christmas Tale 454 38
3 WALL-E 368 32
4 Wendy and Lucy 366 36
5 Happy-Go-Lucky 346 31
6 Paranoid Park 335 31
7 Still Life 330 31
8 Silent Light 310 26
9 Synecdoche, New York 290 25
10 Waltz with Bashir 283 27
11 Rachel Getting Married 267 24
12 In the City of Sylvia 256 22
13 My Winnipeg 248 27
14 Let the Right One In 237 22
15 Milk 205 20
16 The Edge of Heaven 203 17
17 Hunger 198 19
18 The Wrestler 192 19
19 Ballast 177 17
20 Man on Wire 165 16
21 The Duchess of Langeais 160 17
22 The Dark Knight 156 14
23 Che 146 13
24 Reprise 141 15
25 Gomorrah 132 13
26 Woman On The Beach 122 13
27 Before I Forget 105 10
28 Slumdog Millionaire 104 10
29 La France 103 9
30 Encounters at the End of the World 101 10
Trouble the Water 101 10
32 The Last Mistress 97 10
33 The Class 91 9
34 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 87 9
35 Frownland 86 8
Standard Operating Procedure 86 8
37 The Exiles 84 7
The Romance of Astrea and Celadon 84 8
39 Burn After Reading 77 8
40 The Order of Myths 76 8
41 Momma’s Man 73 8
42 The Secret of the Grain 70 7
43 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days 68 6
Razzle Dazzle: The Lost World 68 6
45 Vicky Cristina Barcelona 67 8
46 Chop Shop 64 8
47 Ashes of Time Redux 63 6
48 Boarding Gate 60 6
49 Boy A 58 6
Frozen River 58 5
51 Gran Torino 55 6
52 Mister Lonely 54 5
53 The Witnesses 53 5
Up the Yangtze 53 5
55 Mary 52 5
46 Shotgun Stories 51 6
57 The Visitor 50 5
58 I Can No Longer Hear the Guitar 48 4
59 Alexandra 47 5
60 Be Kind Rewind 46 5
61 Tell No One 45 5
62 My Father My Lord 44 5
63 Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind 41 5
64 W. 39 4
65 Changeling 37 3
The Silence Before Bach 37 3
The Unforeseen 37 4
68 Summer Palace 35 4
Taxi to the Dark Side 35 3
70 In Bruges 34 4
The Pool 34 3
72 Fengming: A Chinese Memoir 32 3
Love Songs 32 4
State Legislature 32 3
75 Frost/Nixon 31 3
Opera Jawa 31 3
The Band’s Visit 31 3
The Other Half 31 3
79 Cadillac Records 29 3
80 Funny Games 28 3
Stuck 28 3
Tropic Thunder 28 3
83 JCVD 27 3
Redbelt 27 3
85 My Blueberry Nights 26 3
Savage Grace 26 2
87 Snow Angels 24 3
88 Married Life 23 2
Pineapple Express 23 3
90 Of Time and the City 22 2
91 Battle for Haditha 20 2
92 Mad Detective 20 2
Mukhsin 20 2
94 Revolutionary Road 19 2
Speed Racer 19 2
96 Operation Filmmaker 18 2
97 Dear Zachary: A Letter To a Son About His Father 17 2
I Served the King of England 17 2
99 Doubt 15 2
Heartbeat Detector 15 2

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Comments

tolo87

Developed to celebrate film culture and criticism, this third annual poll by indieWIRE, conducted in recent weeks with critics casting their ballots online, focuses primarly on film critics who write for alternative outlets and online publications, including blogs. Inspired by a similar poll previously launched by the Village Voice in 1999, iW continued the survey two years ago after the Voice abandoned its popular poll, hoping to give North American cinephiles a direct opportunity to highlight the best in international cinema. The Village Voice is again working with sister publication the L.A. Weekly on a film poll this year. THis looks like a great pool. Mike

RobT

Thanks for returning the poll results! I’d forgotten up until looking at the link to “critics” that all the ballots had been posted as well as the final tallies; restoring those must have been a headache. As a media poll geek I very much appreciate the effort on the part of all involved, and look forward to returning to this page again and again!

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