As 2015 draws to a close, you’ve probably noticed that various critic’s groups, professional guilds, and damn near everyone else has been putting their heads together and voting for their favorite movies, performances, and whatnot of the year. Not to be outdone, the American Film Institute, also known as the AFI, released their choices for the top movies of the past calendar year.

Selected by a conglomeration of critics, trustees, scholars, and various members of the industry, the AFI released their annual list "celebrating the year's most outstanding achievements in the art of the moving image," and it’s a strong collection of movies to be sure. Check out their selections for the top films of 2015 below:
The Big Short

Bridge of Spies

Carol

Inside Out

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

Room

Spotlight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Straight Outta Compton

To be fair, there aren’t a ton of huge surprises to be found anywhere on this list, as many of these titles have already appeared on damn near every last run down of the best cinema had to offer in 2015. There are big blockbusters, like The Martian, indie dramas like Room and Spotlight, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which, though most of us haven’t had the opportunity to see it yet, really feels like it’s in its own special category as far as movies go—it’s more of a cultural phenomenon than a simple film at this point.

This collection features heavy hitters like Steven Spielberg (Bridge of Spies), Ridley Scott (The Martian), and Pixar (Inside Out); meticulous indie auteur Todd Haynes (Carol); and up and comers like Tom McCarthy (Spotlight) and Lenny Abrahamson (Room). F. Gary Gray’s NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton continues to defy advanced expectations by not only being a huge financial hit, but by finding it’s way onto prestigious year-end lists like the AFI’s.

George Miller’s long-in-the-works Mad Max: Fury Road—his first return to the post-apocalyptic wastes he first visited in 1979 since 1985’s Beyond Thunderdome—continues it’s unlikely award season romp. The relentless onslaught of action has found its way to the top of a number of best-of-2015 lists, including those of the Online Film Critics Society and the National Board of Review, and has figured into the race for many others. I love the movie dearly, but even I didn’t expect it to be such a huge critical hit and didn’t anticipate all of the end-of-the-year hardware it’s collected along the way.

These films, as well as their TV counterparts, will be honored at a private luncheon in Los Angeles on January 8, 2016.

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