The American Film Institute is out with its annual unranked list of the best movies and TV shows of the year, which it calls “culturally and artistically representative of the year’s most significant achievements in the art of the moving image.” This marks the first time the AFI Awards have named 11 motion pictures to its usual list of 10 best. It’s chock-full of titles already being bandied about this awards season, four of which — American Sniper, Into The Woods, Selma and Unbroken — open on Christmas Day; the others are, in alphabetical order: Birdman, which won the Gotham Award for Best Feature; Boyhood, which the Los Angeles and New film critics groups have tapped as their choice of year’s best; Foxcatcher; The Imitation Game; Interstellar; Nightcrawler; and Whiplash. Noticeably absent from the list are David Fincher’s Ben Affleck starrer Gone Girl, and A Most Violent Year, which the National Board of Review last week selected as its best film of 2014. Working Title’s Stephen Hawking film The Theory of Everything isn’t eligible because its producers are English. This is the first time in AFI Awards history that the voting procedure, including tiebreakers, has resulted in 11 motion picture honorees.
On the TV side, five of the AFI’s 10 choices are freshman series: ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder, the CW’s Jane The Virgin, Cinemax’s The Knick, HBO’s Silicon Valley and Amazon’s Transparent. Also making the cut are FX’s The Americans and Fargo, HBO’s Game Of Thrones, Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black and AMC’s Mad Men. HBO’s Emmy juggernaut True Detective didn’t make the list, and neither Comedy Series Emmy champ, ABC’s Modern Family. Among the bypassed others: Netflix’s House Of Cards, FX’s Louie, HBO’s Veep, CBS’ The Good Wife and The Big Bang Theory and PBS’ Downton Abbey, to name a few.
“We celebrate these films and television programs as more than just milestones in a year of excellence.” AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale said. “They are a part of our American cultural heritage – collectively, a new chapter in the story of the art form and of our nation.”