TDKR app prologue

The American Film Institute has thrown an awards lifeline to The Dark Knight Rises.

The group doesn’t choose a best picture, it only ranks the 10 best movies of the year and lists them alphabetically, and this year’s list could easily mirror the eventual best-picture field for the Academy Awards. The six locks for a nomination — Argo, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty — are all on AFI’s list.

But the Oscars could select anywhere from five to 10 nominees, and with so many worthy contenders this year the list is likely to go long. So could AFI’s choices be a good gauge for what might fill those other four slots?

If you’re Christopher Nolan, you’ve got to hope so.

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expanded its best picture field three years ago, it was in part due to the feeling that The Dark Knight was best-picture worthy, but fell just short. Including more movies, including pop favorites like that one, was seen as a way to excite more viewers about the telecast.

But so far, The Dark Knight Rises hasn’t generated the same awards heat. It’s in the conversation, for sure, but this is also a stellar year for films and competition is fierce.

Among the other movies jockeying for a slot on the best picture list are Moonrise Kingdom, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Django Unchained — which are also on AFI’s list.

The choice by the AFI jury, made up of scholars, and film and TV professions, to include The Dark Knight Rises gives that movie a much-needed jolt of adrenaline in the awards race. Oscar voters are certainly aware of the film, and Nolan and company have been out campaigning for it a lot lately, but the AFI mention should remind those Academy members to give it some consideration for best of the year.

Here’s the full list, followed by the group’s ranking for best TV shows:



Beasts of the Southern Wild

The Dark Knight Rises

Django Unchained

Les Miserables

Life of Pi


Moonrise Kingdom

Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty


American Horror Story

Breaking Bad

Game Change

Game of Thrones




Mad Men

Modern Family

The Walking Dead

For more on award season