The American Film Institute has fanned the flames of awards season with the unveiling of its annual list of top 10 films and television shows of the year.
Comprised of filmmakers, critics, and other industry professionals, AFI is a non-profit film organization that honors and supports the production of American movies. This year, with Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations right around the corner (Thursday, Dec. 6 and Wednesday, Dec. 12, respectively), the AFI’s top 10 has given another considerable publicity boost to prestige competitors like A Star is Born, Green Book, Eighth Grade, If Beale Street Could Talk, BlacKkKlansman, and First Reformed — which has tickled the fancy of nearly every major pre-Oscar awards body so far — while also offering the Irish/British/American co-production The Favourite its first taste of major precursor love on the awards trail so far.
Apart from the aforementioned prestige pictures, commercial-leaning films in the hunt for a best picture nomination also showed up on the AFI’s top 10, including Mary Poppins Returns, Black Panther, and A Quiet Place.
Despite being a top contender for major Oscar nominations in January, Netflix’s Alfonso Cuarón-directed Mexican drama Roma was ineligible for a spot on the AFI’s top 10 due to its status as a predominantly foreign production (the film is currently contending as Mexico’s official submission for the foreign language Oscar). Still, the film was singled out for a special AFI award. Being left out of the AFI’s top 10 didn’t stop foreign-produced movies like 2011’s The Artist and 2010’s The King’s Speech — both of which were honored with special AFI awards — from winning best picture, however.
Best picture frontrunner A Star is Born previously staked its claim on the awards race after reaping significant critical praise on the fall festival circuit en route to commercial success (it has grossed nearly $200 million in the U.S. and counting) before bagging multiple honors — including best actress (Lady Gaga), best director (Bradley Cooper), and best supporting actor (Sam Elliott) — from the National Board of Review. Still, Peter Farrelly’s Green Book and Cuarón’s Roma have flexed their muscle with the precursors, too, with the former taking the Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award (an honor that often results in a corresponding best picture nomination) and the latter cleaning up at the New York Film Critics Circle awards.
Since the Academy expanded the best picture category in 2009 to include anywhere between five and 10 nominees after a preferential vote, the AFI’s annual list of honorees has matched between five to eight Academy contenders. Most recently, seven 2017 of nine eventual best picture contenders preceded their Oscar nominations with an appearance on the AFI’s top 10. Only Paul Thomas Anderson’s late-breaking player Phantom Thread and Joe Wright’s Winston Churchill biopic Darkest Hour missed the AFI cut in favor of earlier breakouts Wonder Woman and The Florida Project.
Check out AFI’s top 10 movies and TV shows (in alphabetical order) below, and be sure to keep track of all the key dates in the awards race ahead in EW’s awards season calendar.
AFI top 10 movies of 2018:
If Beale Street Could Talk
Mary Poppins Returns
A Quiet Place
A Star is Born
AFI top 10 TV shows of 2018:
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Better Call Saul
The Kominsky Method
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
This Is Us
AFI special award: Roma
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