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indieWIRE CRITICS’ POLL ’08 | Amy Monaghan

indieWIRE CRITICS' POLL '08 | Amy Monaghan

This is the latest ballot in indieWIRE’s 2008 Critics Poll, continuing 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. Note that some lists are unranked at the discretion of the critic. For all categories except Best Undistributed Film, eligible feature films had first-run theatrical engagements in the U.S. during 2008. Films without a U.S. distributor, screened anywhere (festival circuit, one-off screenings, etc.), are eligible in the Best Undistributed Film category. The full list of critics poll ballots is available here at indieWIRE and tabulated results are being published by indieWIRE later this month.

Amy Monaghan
Freelance; pullquote.typepad.com

Best Film
1 – Encounters at the End of the World
2 – The Exiles
3 – Happy-Go-Lucky
4 – JCVD
5 – Man on Wire
6 – Momma’s Man
7 – My Winnipeg
8 – Reprise
9 – Synecdoche, New York
10 – Trouble the Water

Best Performance
1 – Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
2 – Brendan Gleeson, In Bruges
3 – Asia Argento, The Last Mistress

Best Supporting Performance
1 – Samantha Morton, Mister Lonely and Synecdoche, New York
2 – Flo Jacobs, Momma’s Man
3 – Ralph Fiennes, In Bruges

Best Director
Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky

Best Screenplay
Martin McDonagh, In Bruges

Best First Feature
The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)

Best Documentary
Man on Wire

Best Undistributed Film
1 – For the Love of Movies
2 – Finally, Lillian and Dan
3 – Lucio
4 – I’m Gonna Explode
5 – Forbidden Lie$

Call it the cinevore’s dilemma. As I pulled together these lists, I realized just how many movie miles I’ve clocked this year. I saw only two of the films cited here in the state in which I live–one at a theater two hours distant and another projected on a wall in my home. Everything else involved hitting the road. And so, surveying the pins on my personal map of the lost continent of cinephilia, I salute the tireless souls at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, the Independent Film Festival of Boston, the New York Film Festival, the Flaherty Seminar, the Nickelodeon in Columbia, SC, Cine Athens, the Coolidge Corner, the Brattle Theatre, the Somerville Theatre, the Harvard Film Archive, BAM, and Film Forum for giving me homes away from home in the welcoming darkness.

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