Sight & Sound 2015 critics poll begins the rush of Top Ten lists

mad max fury road
With the calendar about to turn to December, one thing you can count on is a ton of Ten Ten/Best of the Year lists beginning to come down the pike. From critics groups to guilds to various organizations and publications, now is the time to start feting the top titles of 2015. This year, the season of giving, as it were, has begun with Sight & Sound publishing their esoteric list of the top 20 releases of 2015. This European film magazine is highly respected and always makes interesting choices, with this year being no exception. You’ll see that list below, though I also want to talk about what might do the best during this section of 2015 as well. We’ve got 32 days left in the year, so it’s very much crunch time, in all senses of the term.

Which films from this year stand to do best with Top Ten lists and critical huzzahs like this one? My suspicion is that some combination of Anomalisa, Carol, Inside Out, Mad Max: Fury Road, Son of Saul, Tangerine, as well as the mostly unseen Oscar contenders will be what shows up most on this circuit. Those named above are on the Sight & Sound list, but they seem poised to be some of what critics liked most in 2015. There will also be plenty of love for Brooklyn, The Martian, Room, and Spotlight, to be sure, so any of those could wind up the most cited as well. Now is when we get a sense of what the pundits loved best, before the precursors really begin to chime in. As we all know, that shapes the race in one way, with the guilds then potentially shaping it a whole other way…

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Here now are the 20 films that Sight & Sound listed as the best of 2015:

1. The Assassin
2. Carol
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
4. Arabian Nights
5. Cemetery Of Splendour
6. No Home Movies
7. 45 Years
8. Son Of Saul
9. Amy (tied for ninth place)
9. Inherent Vice (tied for ninth place)
11. Anomalisa (tied for 11th place)
11. It Follows (tied for 11th place)
13. Phoenix
14. Girlhood (tied for 14th place)
14. Hard To Be A God (tied for 14th place)
14. Inside Out (tied for 14th place)
14. Tangerine (tied for 14th place)
14. Taxi Tehran (tied for 14th place)
19. Horse Money (tied for 19th place)
19. The Look Of Silence (tied for 19th place)

As you can see, The Assassin was their pick here, which kind of took me by surprise. I suspected it would be on the list, but if I had made a guess earlier, I would have said one of the aforementioned from the group of Anomalisa, Carol, Inside Out, Mad Max: Fury Road, Son of Saul, and Tangerine would have gotten the top honors. That being said, picking The Assassin does fit in with the aesthetic this group tends to like. It doesn’t mean a whole lot for Oscar, but it’s still worth taking note of. Personally, I wish they’d cited It Follows higher, but I’m just glad it made the cut.

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Truth be told, I love lists and can’t wait to make my own at the end of December. Actually, I vote in a couple of these groups and will have to make some choices in the next week or two. It’s a total first world problem, so I’m not complaining, but as I said at the beginning of this article, the crunch is on. Sit tight though, as I’ll eventually have a couple of special lists for this site. It’s one of the most enjoyable and fun parts of the year, so I fully anticipate it being a memorable December. It almost always is, especially when the races are as wide open as the ones at the Academy Awards seem to be this year…

Stay tuned for plenty more lists in the days and weeks to come!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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