With the year coming to a close and another long awards season well underway, it’s time for IndieWire to unveil its annual critics poll of the best films of 2021. This year saw a boon in cinema offerings with the revival of the festival circuit — either shuttered or relegated to virtual affairs in 2020 — and the reopening of movie theaters. From grand, long-awaited tentpoles like “Dune” to Cannes favorites like “Annette,” “The Worst Person in the World,” “Titane,” and “Drive My Car,” and Netflix powerhouses like “The Power of the Dog,” this year’s varied list reflects the cinema and culture as it was in 2021.
With 187 critics and journalists voting on the best films and performances in this year’s survey, Jane Campion’s Western character study “The Power of the Dog” was the landslide victor by a considerable margin. It’s the second time in the history of this poll, and the second consecutive year after “Nomadland,” that a film directed by a woman topped this list. “The Power of the Dog” also topped IndieWire’s own staff list of The Best Movies of 2021.
Staffers from IndieWire, Variety, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and Entertainment Weekly all voted, as well as freelance and staff writers for newspapers, websites, radio, and TV from across Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Australia — as well as all over the U.S. and Canada. However, all participants were required to vote only for films that received theatrical, streaming, or VOD releases in the U.S. over the past calendar year.
Check out the complete list of the IndieWire Critics Poll top 50 films of 2020 below.