Hartford Courant

Original films lead the tallies in survey

- By Lindsey Bahr

Fiercely original films, femalefocu­sed stories and theatrical­first releases had the clear edge in The Associated Press’ inaugural Top 25 Movies list, which was topped by Searchligh­t Pictures’ “The Banshees of Inisherin.”

In a cinematic landscape where it often seems that only franchise films have a shot at traditiona­l box-office success, the top five films on the AP’S list were all original — and most did find robust audiences in theaters, despite the fact that moviegoing has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Writer-director Martin Mcdonagh’s dark comedy about feuding friends in Ireland has been a clear favorite of critics’ groups and industry voting bodies since its decorated debut at the Venice Film Festival in September. The movie starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson continues to find new audiences now that it’s available on streaming platforms.

Second place went to the year’s Cinderella story, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s anarchic, multiverse-hopping “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” an A24 release starring Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan that became a word-ofmouth sensation.

Focus Features’ “Tar,” Todd Field’s challengin­g classical music drama with Cate Blanchett, placed third. It’s the only film in the top five that has struggled at the box office.

Although the top three may sound like many critics’ lists, things took a representa­tive, crowd-pleasing turn with the next several films. Jordan Peele’s movie thriller sendup “Nope” snagged fourth place, and Gina Prince-bythewood’s throwback action epic “The Woman King” rounded out the top five. Both are major studio films (Universal and Sony, respective­ly) from Black directors with Black actors in the lead.

The list also included the biggest blockbuste­rs of the year, “Top Gun: Maverick” (No. 7) and “Avatar: The Way of Water” (No. 16, tied); big-studio releases such as Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiogra­phical “The Fabelmans” (No. 8) and Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” (No. 14); and myriad internatio­nal films such as the Telugu-language musical epic “RRR,” prominentl­y featured at No. 6.

ing now joins this storied tradition.

The sports polls are a weekly tally tracking the evolving dynamic throughout each sport’s season of play. In contrast, the AP Top 25 Movies ranking is a single definitive list reflecting the entire 2022 calendar year.

“I’ve been mimicking the AP College Football poll since I was 6 years old and ranking my favorite movies every year,” said Shawn Edwards, film critic at WDAF-TV in Kansas City. “I’m thrilled that AP wanted a diverse group of individual­s from various parts of the country to share their perspectiv­es and viewpoints.”

The voters

For the AP Top 25 Movies ranking, the AP researched the nation’s best film writers, reporters and critics, seeking a diverse panel of journalist­s from all formats who cover films as a significan­t part of their role at their news outlet. To be eligible, their news outlets must be AP members or customers.

Among the 26 selected

to vote in the inaugural ranking are a mix of platforms and audiences — from National Public Radio, Univision and Indiewire, to the Chicago Tribune, San Diego’s KPBS-FM radio station and KSNV-TV in Las Vegas.

The demographi­c makeup of the voters — 54% white and 65% male — stands out as more inclusive when compared to the overall industry: Research from USC in 2018 found the film critics industry to be 83% white and 78.7% male.

The AP Top 25 Movies panelists also ranged in age from 29 to 68, and are based across the country — from Detroit to Memphis, Tennessee; and Houston to Philadelph­ia — though there is heavy representa­tion in the film industry hubs of New York and Los Angeles.

 ?? FOCUS FEATURES ?? Cate Blanchett in “Tar.”
FOCUS FEATURES Cate Blanchett in “Tar.”
 ?? MUBI ?? Park Hae-il and Tang Wei in “Decision to Leave,” which ranked No. 12.
MUBI Park Hae-il and Tang Wei in “Decision to Leave,” which ranked No. 12.

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