Jury goes with a mix of indie and studio fare, omitting many late December entries

By Nicole Sperling
Updated December 16, 2015 at 12:00 PM EST
Credit: Lucasfilm

Turns out there was good reason for American Film Institute to postpone the announcement of its top 10 list to wait for Star Wars: The Force Awakens to debut. And debuted it has, to resoundingly positive reviews and now inclusion on AFI’s annual list. The organization went with a mixture of studio and indie fare that could closely represent the Academy’s Best Picture race once those films are announced on Jan. 14.

Let’s break it down.

On the studio side of things AFI chose Paramount’s The Big Short, Dreamworks Pictures’ Bridge of Spies, Pixar’s Inside Out, Warner Bros.’s Mad Max: Fury Road, Fox’s The Martian, Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Universal’s Straight Outta Compton.

As far as indie films go The Weinstein Co.’s Carol, A24’s Room and Open Road’s Spotlight all made the cut.

WANT MORE EW? Subscribe now to keep up with the latest in movies, television and music.

With the exception of Star Wars, many of the year-end releases were ignored, including Ryan Coogler’s Creed, the Will Smith-starrer Concussion, which debuted at the AFI fest in November, Alejandro Inarritu’s The Revenant, David O. Russell’s Joy and Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.

Also left off the list was Steve Jobs.

The 10 television programs chosen for the year include:

The Americans

Better Caul Saul




Game of Thrones


Master of None

Mr. Robot


The biggest surprises on the television side of things are the inclusions of Aziz Ansari’s new show Master of None, USA’s hit show Mr. Robot, and Lifetime’s hit scripted show UnREAL.

AFI’s awards are selected by a jury which this year was headed by former Universal chairman Tom Pollack for film and former chairman of Disney Television Richard Frank. The juries featured Neal Baer, Marshall Herskovitz, Michelle MacLaren, Bennett Miller, John Ridley, Renee Tajima-Peña, Emma Thomas and Matt Williams; authors and scholars including Dr. Henry Gates Jr. and Molly Haskell, film historian Leonard Maltin; the AFI Board of Trustees; and film and television critics from various media outlets.