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indieWIRE CRITICS’ POLL ’08 | Travis Crawford

indieWIRE CRITICS' POLL '08 | Travis Crawford

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.

Travis Crawford
Filmmaker, Film Comment, MovieMaker

Best Film
1 – Let the Right One In
2 – Still Life
3 – Mary
4 – Woman on the Beach
5 – A Christmas Tale
6 – Alexandra
7 – Wendy and Lucy
8 – Paranoid Park
9 – My Winnipeg
10 – Slumdog Millionaire

Best Performance
1 – Michelle Williams, Wendy and Lucy
2 – Asia Argento, The Last Mistress
3 – Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
4 – Lina Leandersson, Let the Right One In
5 – Ellen Page, The Tracey Fragments

Best Director
Jia Zhang-ke, Still Life

Best Screenplay
John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One In

Best First Feature
Charles Burns, Fear(s) of the Dark (segment)

Best Documentary
Standard Operating Procedure

After seven years of programming for the Philadelphia Film Festival, I was no longer affiliated with this festival in 2008, so my access to films without general American distribution was significantly more limited — subsequently, I opted not to vote in the poll for undistributed films, which kind of tortures me since that was always my favorite category (I also opted to steer clear of the fest circuit in general this past year, though that’s my own fault). Then again, this is also coming from someone who additionally regrets not placing Doomsday, The Ruins, Cloverfield, Hair Extensions, Inside, Mother of Tears, and Frontier(s) on the top ten list, so my genre preference would have undoubtedly influenced any selections in the undistributed arena, and that would need to be considered a factor. Indeed, one of the pleasures of being strictly freelance is that I don’t have to even feign interest in seeing seasonal Oscar-bait like Doubt, Frost/Nixon, The Reader, et al. They may indeed be genuinely great films, but I confess that I’m too busy holed up watching import DVDs of Fernando diLeo and Mikio Naruse films to really care. So much for critical objectivity.

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