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AFI’s Top 10 Films and TV of 2022 Revealed: ‘Avatar,’ ‘Elvis,’ ‘The Bear,’ ‘Severance’ Honored

AFI's list skewed toward studio fare like "Top Gun," while "She Said" also got a boost. Netflix, meanwhile, is a no-show on the film side but did land a TV spot for "Mo."

Avatar: The Way of Water

“Avatar: The Way of Water”

Walt Disney Studios

The American Film Institute’s annual list of the best films and television of the year always includes awards frontrunners as well as at least one or two unexpected dark horses. This time, as usual, the list skewed largely toward mainstream studio fare like Warner Bros.’ “Elvis” and Sony’s “The Woman King,” Paramount Pictures’ “Top Gun: Maverick,” 20th Century Studios and Disney’s “Avatar: The Way of Water,” and Universal’s “Nope.”

However, also from Universal, “She Said,” which has struggled to connect with audiences at the box office and appears to be a straggler in the awards race, got a needed boost in the top 10. Universal also got an expected shout-out for “The Fabelmans” (director Steven Spielberg is on the board of AFI trustees). A24’s “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Focus Features’ “TÁR” (director Todd Field is an AFI Conservatory alum), and United Artists Releasing’s “Women Talking” also notched spots. “Nope” is making quiet but mighty waves in the awards fray, as star Keke Palmer earned Best Supporting Actress from the New York Film Critics Circle last week.

As Searchlight’s “The Banshees of Inisherin” is a mostly U.K. production, Martin McDonagh’s acclaimed Irish drama was designated an AFI Special Award. The movie fell outside the Institute’s eligibility, which favors largely U.S. productions.

Streamers were a no-show on the movies list but found placement among TV titles. That means Netflix, despite having films like “Bardo” (ineligible anyway), “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” (which was), “The Good Nurse,” and “White Noise” in the mix, sat this one out on the film side. (The streamer’s CEO Ted Sarandos is also an AFI trustee.) However, Netflix did make its way into AFI’s top 10 TV list, with “Mo” earning a spot alongside beloved series like “Abbott Elementary,” “The Bear,” “Better Call Saul,” “Hacks,” “Reservation Dogs,” and “The White Lotus.” Apple had a good day here, with “Pachinko” and “Severance” both on the list. HBO’s sleeper favorite “Somebody Somewhere” also made the cut. Overall, the TV list veered toward comedy more than drama.

Honorees will gather on Friday, January 13, 2023, for recognition at the annual AFI Awards private luncheon at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, an event adored for its intimacy and looseness, where awards contenders can just chill out over canapé and champagne.

This year’s juries — one for film and one for television — included W. Kamau Bell, Colman Domingo, Siân Heder, Brad Ingelsby, Marti Noxon, Mario Van Peebles; renowned film historians L.S. Kim, Akira Mizuta Lippit, Leonard Maltin and Robert Thompson; members of the AFI Board of Trustees; film critics Janet Maslin, Shawn Edwards, co-founder of the African American Film Critics Association, and critics from outlets such as the LA Times, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Salon, TV Guide, and The Washington Post. The juries were chaired by AFI board of trustees member Jeanine Basinger and trustees vice chair Richard Frank.

See the full lists below.

AFI Movies of the Year

“Avatar: The Way of Water”
“Everything Everywhere All at Once”
“The Fabelmans”
“She Said”
“Top Gun: Maverick”
“The Woman King”
“Women Talking”

AFI Television Programs of the Year

“Abbott Elementary”
“The Bear”
“Better Call Saul”
“Reservation Dogs”
“Somebody Somewhere”
“The White Lotus”

AFI Special Award

“The Banshees of Inisherin”

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