A total of 105 leading North American film critics participated in the third indieWIRE Critics' Poll, surveying the best in film for 2008. Voting was conducted in eight categories this month. This poll was created to continue the tradition of a national survey of critics, by calling attention to the year's best -- and, in many cases, most overlooked -- films, providing a meaningful counterpoint to much of the year-end hoopla. (Details on how the scores were tabulated are available at the end of this page.)

[Overview | Results | Comments | Undistributed | Critics]

#BEST FILMPointsMentions
1The Flight of the Red Balloon49543
2A Christmas Tale45438
4Wendy and Lucy36636
6Paranoid Park33531
7Still Life33031
8Silent Light31026
9Synecdoche, New York29025
10Waltz with Bashir28327
11Rachel Getting Married26724
12In the City of Sylvia25622
13My Winnipeg24827
14Let the Right One In23722
16The Edge of Heaven20317
18The Wrestler19219
20Man on Wire16516


1Hou Hsiao-hsien, The Flight of the Red Balloon10
2Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky9
3Arnaud Desplechin, A Christmas Tale8
Jose Luis Guerin, In The City of Sylvia8
5Carlos Reygadas, Silent Light6
6Gus Van Sant, Milk5
7Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire4
Fatih Akin, The Edge of Heaven4
Gus Van Sant, Paranoid Park4
Kelly Reichardt, Wendy and Lucy4
Steven Soderbergh, Che4
12Ari Folman, Waltz With Bashir3
Eric Rohmer, The Romance of Astree and Celadon3
Guy Maddin, My Winnipeg3
Jacques Rivette, The Duchess of Langeais3
Jia Zhang-ke, Still Life3
17Charlie Kaufman, Synecdoche, New York2
Darren Aronofsky, The Wrestler2
Jonathan Demme, Rachel Getting Married2
Laurent Cantet, The Class2
1Ballast, Lance Hammer24
2Hunger, Steve McQueen11
3Frozen River, Courtney Hunt9
4Synecdoche, New York, Charlie Kaufman8
5Reprise, Joachim Trier6
6Frownland, Ronald Bronstein5
7Shotgun Stories, Jeff Nichols4
8In Bruges, Martin McDonagh2
Jellyfish, Shira Geffen and Etgar Keret2
Medicine for Melancholy, Barry Jenkins2
The Gits, Kerri O'Kane2
12Ben X, Nic Balthazar1
Build a Ship, Sail to Sadness, Laurin Federlein1
Charlie Bartlett, Jon Poll1
Choose Connor, Luke Eberl1
Fear(s) of the Dark, Blutch, Burns, Caillou, Di Sciullo, Mattotti,
Fear(s) of the Dark, Charles Burns (segment)1
Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Nicholas Stoller1
Moving Midway, Godfrey Cheshire1
My Father My Lord1
Quid Pro Quo, Carlos Brooks1
Taking Father Home, Ying Liang1
The Betrayal - Nerakhoon, Ellen Kuras and Thavi Prasavath1
The Foot Fist Way, Jody Hill1
The Pool, Chris Smith1
Tokyo Gore Police, Yoshihiro Nishimura1
Wonderful Town, Aditya Assarat1
XXY, Lucía Puenzo1

1Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler54849
2Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky51446
3Michelle Williams, Wendy and Lucy46246
4Sean Penn, Milk42441
5Juliette Binoche, The Flight of the Red Balloon40438
6Asia Argento, Boarding Gate, Mother of Tears, Last Mistress15215
7Melissa Leo, Frozen River12012
8Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married11412
9Guillaume Depardieu, The Duchess of Langeais10411
10Philip Seymour Hoffman, Synecdoche, New York9810
11Mathieu Amalric, A Christmas Tale9611
12Kristin Scott Thomas, I've Loved You So Long9010
13Michael Fassbender, Hunger787
14Benicio Del Toro, Che708
15Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road687
16Catherine Deneuve, A Christmas Tale567
17Richard Jenkins, The Visitor546
18Dore Mann, Frownland505
19Galina Vishnevskaya, Alexandra465
Tarra Riggs, Ballast464

1Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight42439
2Eddie Marsan, Happy-Go-Lucky31829
3Samantha Morton, Synecdoche, New York18617
4Josh Brolin, Milk17416
5Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road16617
6Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married15617
7Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder15416
8Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona14414
9Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler14013
10Viola Davis, Doubt12412
11Hafsia Herzi, The Secret of the Grain11410
12Emmanuelle Devos, A Christmas Tale10011
13Ann Savage, My Winnipeg706
Brad Pitt, Burn After Reading707
15Mathieu Amalric, A Christmas Tale687
16Ken Jacobs, Momma's Man646
Tarra Riggs, Ballast646
Tilda Swinton, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button647
19Flo Jacobs, Momma's Man606
Jane Lynch, Role Models606
1Charlie Kaufman, Synecdoche, New York18
2Arnaud Desplechin and Emmanuel Bourdieu, A Christmas Tale9
3Jenny Lumet, Rachel Getting Married4
Joel and Ethan Coen, Burn After Reading4
Martin McDonagh, In Bruges4
Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky4
6Guy Maddin and George Toles, My Winnipeg3
Jonathan Raymond and Kelly Reichardt, Wendy and Lucy3
9Andrew Stanton and Jim Reardon, WALL-E2
Eric Rohmer, The Romance of Astrea and Celadon2
Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button2
Fatih Akin, The Edge Of Heaven2
Ira Sachs and Oren Moverman, Married Life2
Jacques Nolot, Before I Forget2
Joachim Trier and Eskil Vogt, Reprise3
Robert Siegel, The Wrestler2
Serge Bozon and Axelle Ropert, La France2
Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire2
Steve McQueen and Enda Walsh, Hunger2
Thomas McCarthy, The Visitor2

1Man on Wire14
2My Winnipeg10
3Standard Operating Procedure9
Trouble the Water9
Waltz with Bashir9
6The Order of Myths6
7Encounters at the End of the World3
Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind3
Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired3
The Unforeseen3
Up the Yangtze3
12Chris & Don. A Love Story 2
Dear Zachary: A Letter To a Son About His Father2
Fengming: A Chinese Memoir2
Stranded: I've Come from a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains2
16At the Death House Door1
Bigger, Stronger, Faster1
Chicago 101
Constantine's Sword1
Gunnin' For That #1 Spot1
Not Quite Hollywood1
Of Time and the City1
Operation Filmmaker1
Shine a Light1
Surfwise, Doug Pray1
Taxi to the Dark Side1
The Black List1
Wild Combination1
Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait1
1The Headless Woman24
2Night and Day20
3Tony Manero17
524 City14
35 Shots of Rum14
United Red Army14
8I'm Going To Explode12
RR 10
Sita Sings The Blues10
Four Nights with Anna7
Somers Town7
17Modern Life6
Me and Orson Welles6
19Anvil! The Story of Anvil5
20You, the Living5


We asked each critic to cite 10 films, five lead performances, five supporting performances, 10 films without distributors, and one choice each for director, screenplay, cinematography, documentary, and first feature. Each film and performance in an unranked ballot received 10 points. Ranked ballots were weighted as follows: For film: 1 (15 points), 2 (14), 3 (13), 4 (12), 5 (11), 6 (9), 7 (8), 8 (7), 9 (6), 10 (5). For performance: 1 (14), 2 (12), 3 (10), 4 (8), 5 (6). We asked our voters to focus on films that opened for U.S. theatrical engagements in 2007. For performances that received votes in both lead and supporting, we retained the votes in those categories, so certain actors' performance votes were split into two.