Back to IndieWire

indieWIRE CRITICS’ POLL ’08 | Joshua Rothkopf

indieWIRE CRITICS' POLL '08 | Joshua Rothkopf

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.

Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out New York

Best Film
1 – The Wrestler
2 – Man on Wire
3 – Happy-Go-Lucky
4 – The Fall
5 – Frost/Nixon
6 – Rachel Getting Married
7 – Paranoid Park
8 – The Duchess of Langeais
9 – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
10 – Momma’s Man

Best Performance
1 – Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
2 – Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
3 – Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
4 – Guillaume Depardieu, The Duchess of Langeais
5 – Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man

Best Supporting Performance
1 – Eddie Marsan, Happy-Go-Lucky
2 – Debra Winger, Rachel Getting Married
3 – Taylor Momsen, Paranoid Park
4 – Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler
5 – Evan Rachel Wood, The Wrestler

Best Director
Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky

Best Screenplay
Robert Siegel, The Wrestler

Best First Feature

Best Documentary
Man on Wire

Best Undistributed Film
1 – Still Walking
2 – Me and Orson Welles
3 – The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World
4 – Martyrs (can we *please* put pressure on Weinstein?)
5 – Retribution
6 – Go Go Tales
7 – Container
8 – Taxidermia
9 – You, the Living
10 – Sad Vacation

Small-scale pleasures were the order of the day, but let’s not underestimate the warmly animal, emotionally messy and thoroughly familial comeback of Jonathan Demme. I’ll take on haters who mysteriously accused the film of narcissism, conveniently forgetting that this was the film’s true subject. (Meanwhile, Demme is a lot of things, but self-absorbed?) Elsewhere, there was fawning over Arnaud Desplechin’s plotty domestic drama A Christmas Tale, weaker in every respect. Its hateful matriarch, played by a stiff Catherine Deneuve, had no bearing in reality, while Rachel’s diffident Debra Winger was the wholly believable source of that family’s pain. Why isn’t Winger, an American treasure, being re-embraced by critics?

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Features and tagged

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox