Blockbuster hits Black Panther and A Quiet Place were listed among the American Film Institute's 10 best films of 2018. Earlier this year, well before the various awards bodies started weighing in with their selections, the Academy stirred up a considerable amount of controversy by announcing plans to implement a new Best Popular Film category. The decision stemmed from a desire to improve floundering Oscar telecast ratings, and despite the best intentions, it backfired horribly. With many blasting Best Popular Film as an insult, the Academy backtracked as they discuss the matter further.
Instead of relegating tentpoles and genre films to their own separate category, many have argued a better course of action would be to actually nominate some audience favorites in prestigious categories like Best Picture and Best Director, striking a nice balance with the smaller fare the Oscars tend to go for. With the Popular Film debate at the forefront of minds as the season heats up, some viewers were curious to see how commercially successful films would perform. It looks like a few might be able to put together legitimate Oscar campaign now.
Today, the American Film Institute named their 10 best movies of the year. As has become typical with them, the list offers a nice variety of mainstream and nice titles, led by the highest-grossing film of 2018. Check out the full list in the space below. Alfonso Cuarón's Roma did not make the list proper, but earned the AFI Special Award.
If Beale Street Could Talk
Mary Poppins Returns
A Quiet Place
A Star is Born
Many of these, including the populist trio of Black Panther, A Quiet Place, and Mary Poppins Returns, were recognized last week by the National Board of Review, further solidifying their status as ones to watch in the race. It's worth mentioning that the AFI doesn't always line up with the Academy's tastes, but there's typically some correlation between the two. For example, last year, seven of the AFI's 10 best earned Best Picture nominations at the Oscars. One of those outliers was Wonder Woman, so it's still not a guarantee Black Panther is able to break new ground and be in contention for the top prize. However, showing up on two high-profile lists certainly helps its prospects, and it'll be interesting to see how things play out moving forward. Right now, Black Panther is proving to be too big to ignore.
As always, there are some notable snubs. Fans of Damien Chazelle's Neil Armstrong biopic First Man will be disappointed to see it come up short again, and now it looks like it will have to settle for nominations in only the technical categories unless it starts to pick up steam. Adam McKay's Dick Cheney biopic Vice also stands out as an odd omission, though that one missed out on the fall festivals and didn't screen until much later in the year. It's possible not enough people saw it for it to get the number of votes it needed. Again, the Oscar race is far from settled, but it's definitely starting to take shape now.
Source: American Film Institute