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The American Film Institute tends to play a little more fast and loose with its annual end of the year best movies list when compared against other organizations. Usually, there’s at least one selection odd enough to cause a double take. Last year, for example, more than a few heads were turned by the surprising selection of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. Back in 2009, The Hangover was honored with a well-deserved place, and this year, it’s Fruitvale Station that got the unexpected hat tip.
After a very warm reception at Sundance, a whole lot was expected of Fruitvale Station, but for whatever reason, the buzz just never built as loudly as expected. Everyone agrees lead actor Michael B Jordan is great and the film is really powerful, but many assumed it was all but out of awards contention. Maybe this will be the jolt it needs to put it back into the race, or maybe this will be just a deserved moment in the sun. Either way, it’s pretty cool for the under the radar film.
Beyond Fruitvale Station, AFI also selected Oscar frontrunners 12 Years A Slave, Gravity and Inside Llewyn Davis. You can check out the full list of honorees below…
12 Years A Slave
Inside Llewyn Davis
Saving Mr. Banks
The Wolf Of Wall Street
Outside of the aforementioned Fruitvale Station, the big news here is that The Wolf Of Wall Street is apparently good. Everyone who has seen it as embargoed from talking about it, but adding it to end of the year best of lists is fair game. The voters here clearly liked what they saw, and considering most of us assumed the Scorsese/ Dicaprio team up would be incredible, this is a really nice vote of confidence.
The end of the year is filled with dozens and dozens of end of the year lists. An overwhelming majority of them are all but ignored, but the American Film Institute’s always gains a lot of traction, probably because it deviates from the norm at least a little bit. Considering the list never includes foreign films, it’s far from an accurate predictor of Oscar glory, but even so, it's always worth a look.