The results are in for what the American Film Institute (AFI) have deemed the top 10 films of the year. The ten films selected by the organization don’t have a lot of surprises, although it is one of the first signs that Judas and the Black Messiah could start to surge as a strong player. With its impending release next month (after a Sundance premiere), could Shaka King’s historical drama be a late breaking contender? It’s missed out on a lot of the fun this season, but with the extended deadline that doesn’t mean a whole lot. This could be a sign that we’ll be seeing a lot more of the title coming up as we await nominations from the televised precursors like the Golden Globes, SAGs, and BAFTAs.
Minari and Sound of Metal also get a solid boost from their inclusions here, as the two Indies don’t have quite the visibility as heavier hitters like Nomadland and The Trial of the Chicago 7 that have been dominating the season. The fact that these two were honored for the films themselves means that they could be able to make a play for the Best Picture categories at some of these other awards shows, giving them recognition beyond the acting categories. Seeing MInari rightfully included as an American film is especially pleasing here, given the Golden Globes controversial decision to place it in the Foreign Language Feature category, making it ineligible for the Best Drama Film category.
The AFI also announced their list of the best television programs of the year, which included Netflix’s smash hit The Queen’s Gambit and their new breakout Bridgerton alongside Apple TV+’s crowdpleaser Ted Lasso, Showtime’s Ethan Hawke starring abolitionist drama The Good Lord Bird, everyone’s favorite Baby Yoda in The Madalorian, and more.
Lastly, a special award was handed out to Hamilton, after the debut of the filmed stage production on Disney+ this past summer. Of course, the production is eligible this year for Golden Globes in the feature film categories, so it makes sense that AFI would want to find some way to include it here, similar to the special prize they handed out to the non-American film Parasite last year, which would go on to win the big prize at the Oscars.
For the full list of AFI’s honorees for film and television, see below:
AFI MOVIES OF THE YEAR
Da 5 Bloods
Judas and the Black Messiah
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
One Night in Miami
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7
AFI TELEVISION PROGRAMS OF THE YEAR
Better Call Saul
The Good Lord Bird
The Queen’s Gambit
AFI SPECIAL AWARD