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Critics Pick the Best Films and Performances of 2015 in Indiewire’s Annual Poll

Critics Pick the Best Films and Performances of 2015 in Indiewire's Annual Poll

One of this year’s most beloved films since its release earlier this year, “Mad Max: Fury Road” continues to solidify its lasting mark on 2015, this time as the top finalist in the tenth edition of Indiewire’s Year-End Critics Poll.

More than 200 critics from around the world voted in 14 categories for the latest edition of the poll, which was initiated in 2006, when “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu” won first place with the participation of 100 critics. Since then, Indiewire launched the Criticwire Network, which forms the basis of the current survey.

SEE THE RESULTS: Indiewire’s 2015 Year-End Critics Poll

Reflecting some of the most interesting end-of-year battles for attention in recent memory (e.g. “Avatar” vs. “The Hurt Locker” in 2010), the majority of votes this year went to George Miller’s desert-bound visual feast for Best Film and Best Director  — with Todd Haynes’ “Carol” landing in second place for both categories.

The two films traded off many of the other categories as well, with “Carol” landing Best Cinematography and Best Original Score/Soundtrack honors and “Mad Max” handily placing first in Best Editing by the widest margin of the entire poll.

The Lead Actress category proved to be one of the most hotly-contested categories, with a quartet at the head of the pack for much of the voting. In the end, Charlotte Rampling’s turn in “45 Years” narrowly beat out Saoirse Ronan’s turn in “Brooklyn,” Nina Hoss in “Phoenix,” and Brie Larson in “Room” for top honors.

Kristen Stewart nabbed a commanding first-place finish in the Best Supporting Actress tally for her role in Olivier Assayas’ “Clouds of Sils Maria.” (Stewart previously won in the same Supporting Performance category in the Cannes critics poll last summer.) 

The Lead Actor category went to Michael Fassbender for “Steve Jobs,” with a diverse set of runner-ups: Géza Röhrig in “Son of Saul,” Michael B. Jordan in “Creed” and Christopher Abbott in “James White.” Continuing his awards season momentum, Mark Rylance dominated the Supporting Actor category for his turn as a Soviet agent in “Bridge of Spies,” while Sylvester Stallone came in at a close second for “Creed.”

Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Look of Silence” topped the Best Documentary category, just ahead of Asif Kapadia’s “Amy,” Frederick Wiseman’s “In Jackson Heights” and Laurie Anderson’s “Heart of a Dog.”

In an impressive year for debut features, László Nemes’ Holocaust drama “Son of Saul” won out, followed closely by Alex Garland’s “Ex Machina” and Marielle Heller’s “The Diary of a Teenage Girl.”

While “Spotlight” wasn’t entirely ignored by critics, its ensemble was absent from the acting categories. Instead, Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy’s script was the top pick for Best Screenplay.

Taking a step outside the typical awards season narrative, critics were asked to vote on the best 2015 films that have yet to receive U.S. distribution. Greek director Athina Rachel Tsangari’s “Chevalier,” a comedy about male competitiveness set almost entirely on a boat, took the top spot. (The film recently screened at the Locarno and New York film festivals.) “Right Now, Wrong Then,” from South Korea’s prolific Hong Sang-soo, landed in second place.

To see the full results in all 15 categories, you can visit the survey homepage. There, you’ll be able to find links to every critic’s individual ballot, as well as the top 50 films and performances in each particular category. We encourage readers to peer beyond the films that received
the largest number of votes to explore those that received only one or

Participating critics included fixtures of the profession such as J. Hoberman, Philip Lopate, Amy Taubin, L.A. Weekly’s Amy Nicholson, and Variety’s Peter Debruge and Guy Lodge. View a full list of participating critics here.

Explore the full results here or peruse the list of winners and runner-ups on the next page.

BEST FILM: Mad Max: Fury Road
Runner-Up: Carol

BEST DIRECTOR: George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Runner-Up: Todd Haynes, Carol

BEST LEAD ACTRESS: Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Runner-Up: Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

BEST LEAD ACTOR: Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Runner-Up: Géza Röhrig, Son of Saul

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Kristen Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria
Runner-Up: Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Runner-Up: Sylvester Stallone, Creed

BEST DOCUMENTARY: The Look of Silence
Runner-Up: Amy

Runner-Up: The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Runner-Up: Right Now, Wrong Then

Runner-Up: Carol

Runner-Up: The Hateful Eight

Runner-Up: Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST EDITING: Mad Max: Fury Road
Runner-Up: Carol

Runner-Up: The Lobster

See the full results at the survey homepage.

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