AFI Spreads the Wealth With Their Best Films of 2016 Selections
As December rolls on, so too does the cavalcade of year-end lists. The latest authority to weigh in is AFI, by which I mean the American Film Institute and not the Californian alternative-rock group also known as A Fire Inside. While we may never know which films the quartet behind “Miss Murder” favored this year, the other AFI has released their list of 2016’s ten best releases, and it’s a little more varied than some of the heretofore published lists, bringing in some films with less awards buzz along with your usual suspects of Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, and La La Land.
Though a pretty small number of people have actually seen Martin Scorsese’s Silence, the members of AFI were apparently among the chosen few and declared the intense interrogation of faith to be among 2016’s standouts. Another late-in-the-game release amassing praise, Denzel Washington’s reverent adaptation of Fences claimed a spot as well, with the undeniable power of August Wilson’s play and a handful of mighty performances pushing them to the top. Arrival has mostly fallen out of the awards conversation, tacitly relegated to the technical categories, but AFI was evidently moved by Denis Villeneuve’s high-concept meditation on language, memory, and being.
AFI spread the wealth around even further, tapping some films that have been largely forgotten for lists such as these. Animated race-tension allegory Zootopia found a spot on the top ten, as did Clint Eastwood’s salute to everyday heroism Sully. Perhaps most controversial of all? Hacksaw Ridge, the unsparing war drama from human controversy Mel Gibson. The final spot went to Hell or High Water, a welcome selection — it’s excellent, under-the-radar pictures such as these that benefit the most from inclusion on such lists. A little bump in visibility courtesy of AFI would be most welcome.
See the full list below:
Hell Or High Water
La La Land
Manchester By The Sea