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indieWIRE CRITICS’ POLL ’08 | Kevin Lee

indieWIRE CRITICS' POLL '08 | Kevin Lee

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.

Kevin Lee
Shooting Down Pictures

Best Film
1 – Happy-Go-Lucky
2 – The Class
3 – Wall-E
4 – The Last Mistress
5 – Woman on the Beach
6 – Opera Jawa
7 – Taking Father Home
8 – Slumdog Millionaire
9 – Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind
10 – Still Life

Best Performance
1 – Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
2 – Juliet Binoche, The Flight of the Red Balloon
3 – Sean Penn, Milk
4 – Ko Hyun Yung, Woman on the Beach
5 – Michael Fassbender, Hunger

Best Supporting Performance
1 – Eddie Marsan, Happy-Go-Lucky
2 – Hafsia Herzi, Secret of the Grain
3 – Franck Keita, The Class
4 – Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married
5 – Anil Kapoor, Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director
Laurent Cantet, The Class

Best Screenplay
Arnaud Desplechin, A Christmas Tale

Best First Feature
Taking Father Home

Best Documentary
Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind

Best Undistributed Film
1 – Tony Manero
2 – We Are the… of Communism
3 – Treeless Mountain
4 – Using
5 – 35 Rhums
6 – Crossroads
7 – Still Walking
8 – A Tale of Zhou
9 – Night and Day
10 – Torch Troupes

I’m stunned to have come up with ten films that I find better than Flight of the Red Balloon. Some Write-ins: – Best Cinematography: Natasha Braier, In the City of Sylvia – Best Sound: Ben Burtt, WALL-E – Best Editing: Chris Dickens, Slumdog Millionaire. These quintessentially cinematic categories are to the “main” categories what indie film is to Hollywood: less glamorous, less valued, but to my mind more interesting and vital. I hope the poll takes the opportunity to recognize achievements in these fields next year.

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