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indieWIRE CRITICS’ POLL ’08 | Charles Taylor

indieWIRE CRITICS' POLL '08 | Charles Taylor

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.

Charles Taylor
Daily Planet

Best Film
1 – Happy-Go-Lucky
2 – The Edge of Heaven
3 – A Christmas Tale
4 – The Class
5 – Trouble the Water
6 – Cadillac Records
7 – My Blueberry Nights
8 – The Gits
9 – Boarding Gate
10 – Tell No One

Best Performance
1 – Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
2 – Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
3 – Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
4 – Asia Argento, Boarding Gate/The Mother of Tears/The Last Mistress
5 – Tea Leoni, Ghost Town

Best Supporting Performance
1 – Beyonce Knowles, Cadillace Records
2 – Viola Davis, Doubt
3 – Hanna Schygulla, The Edge of Heaven
4 – Columbus Short, Cadillac Records
5 – Jean-Paul Rousillon, A Christmas Tale

Best Director
Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky

Best Screenplay
Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky

Best First Feature
The Gits

Best Documentary
Trouble the Water

Best Undistributed Film
1 – Sparrow

Can we stop this nonsense of not separating performance by gender. Yes, yes, it’s commendably postfeminist of us. It’s also showy, self-congratulatory and shortchanges actors. For all the ways we sneer at Hollywood’s reliance on preawareness or high concept, it sometimes seems that critics practice that more than studio hacks. Last year, it was easy for some to ignore the filmmaking in “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” and proclaim it a “triumph of the spirit” movie. This year, the same blinkered crew is classing Laurent Cantet’s “The Class” with the likes of “Dangerous Minds.” Yeah, right. A movie where no one triumphs, where kids of all cultures are given a repreive before sinking in the roles society has programmed for them is a real piece of uplift. Do some critics bother to look at the fucking screen anymore? Let me get this — you should pardon the expression — straight. We’re supposed to be against Prop 8 and cream ourselves over “Che,” a hagiography of a man who persecuted homosexuals, tossing them in prison because they were homosexuals. Apparently, Sylvia Plath only had it partly right — it’s not just every woman who loves a fascist.

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