Annual Top Tens

Favorite films from 2010 to 2019

Every December, it is the tradition of any critic, reviewer, or cinephile to collect his/her favorite movies of the year into a list. Usually, the lists single out about ten films that appear in an order of preference. The critics will introduce their lists with reflections on the state of cinema. Before taking a peak at the following lists of films, my personal “best of” lists covering each year since 2010, I would like to emphasize a few facts:

1) The first year that I might have considered myself a film buff of any remotely minor degree was probably 2010. It was also the first year that I made a top ten of my favorite new movies and I was 15 years old.

2) 2011 was the year that I discovered foreign and art house films through Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, Godard’s Breathless, Kurosawa’s Rashomon, Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, and Roger Ebert’s “Great Movies” essays.

3) I started reading and buying every issue of Sight & Sound and every book on film that I could find in used bookstores in 2012.

4) Any serious look at a year’s best films should include more foreign films than I have. I live in Arkansas, which offers increasingly few opportunities to see newly released independent, foreign, and art films in a theater. Inevitably, each of my lists reflect this. Those international films which I do see are almost exclusively viewed on DVD or, if there’s no other option, the screen of my laptop.

My point is that these lists are limited to varying degrees by my age, location, and knowledge of film when I made them. Any recent changes I have made to the original lists are small. As my preferences continue to change and my tastes expand, I would rather keep these lists intact as much as possible in order to maintain some snapshot of my preferences in a given year. That said, I couldn’t help slightly shifting the orders of the old lists or adding a few films which I missed during their release years. Those films only recently added will appear next to a :



(* = Favorite Film, ** = Second Favorite Film)

Beautiful Boy (Felix Van Groeningen)

Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)

*First Reformed (Paul Schrader)

Happy as Lazarro (Alice Rohrwacher)

If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)

Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson)

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Morgan Neville)

A few others: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel and Ethan Coen), First Man (Damien Chazelle), Leave No Trace (Debra Granik), The Old Man & the Gun (David Lowery), Unsane (Steven Soderbergh)




Baby Driver (Edgar Wright)

Columbus (Kogonada)

Get Out (Jordan Peele)

A Ghost Story (David Lowery)

Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig)

Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)

The Post (Steven Spielberg)

A few others: Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve), Coco (Lee Unkrich), The Florida Project (Sean Baker), Good Time (Joshua Safdie), The Lost City of Z (James Gray), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh)




(* = Favorite Film, ** = Second Favorite Film)

Hail, Caesar! (Joel & Ethan Coen)

**Jackie (Pablo Larrain)

La La Land (Damien Chazelle)

The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos)

Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)

Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)

O.J.: Made In America (Ezra Edelman)

†Paterson (Jim Jarmusch)

*Silence (Martin Scorsese)

13th (Ava DuVernay)

The Witch (Robert Eggers)

A few others: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve), Cafe Society (Woody Allen), Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater), Evolution (Lucile Hadzihalilovic), Kubo and the Two Strings (Travis Knight), Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke), Neruda (Pablo Larrain)




(* = Favorite Film, ** = Second Favorite Film)

†Clouds of Sils Maria (Olivier Assayas)

**Creed (Ryan Coogler)

Ex Machina (Alex Garland)

Inside Out (Pete Docter/Ronnie del Carmen)

†It Follows (David Robert Mitchell)

The Look of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer)

*Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller)

Me and Earl and The Dying Girl (Alfonso Gomez-Rejon)

Phoenix (Christian Petzold)

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (Roy Andersson)

Queen of Earth (Alex Ross Perry)

Results (Andrew Bujalski)

The Revenant (Alejandro González Iñárritu)

Steve Jobs (Danny Boyle)

World of Tomorrow (Don Hertzfeldt)




(* = Favorite Film, ** = Second Favorite Film)

The Babadook (Jennifer Kent)

Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu)

Boyhood (Richard Linklater)

Calvary (John Michael McDonagh)

The Double (Richard Ayoade)

Edge of Tomorrow (Doug Liman)

**Gone Girl (David Fincher)

*The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson)

Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski)

The Immigrant (James Gray)

Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson)

Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)

†The Overnighters (Jesse Moss)

Snowpiercer (Bong Joon-ho)

Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)



  1.  Before Midnight (Richard Linklater)
  2. The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki)
  3. To the Wonder (Terrence Malick)
  4. Her (Spike Jonze)
  5. The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino)
  6. Prisoners (Denis Villeneuve)
  7. American Hustle (David O. Russell)
  8. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen)
  9. Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach)
  10. Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass)

A few others: Computer Chess (Andrew Bujalski), Gravity (Alfonso Cuaron), Nebraska (Alexander Payne), Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley), The World’s End (Edgar Wright)



  1. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson)
  2. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson)
  3. It’s Such a Beautiful Day (Don Hertzfeldt)
  4. Lincoln (Steven Spielberg)
  5. Amour (Michael Haneke)
  6. Holy Motors (Leos Carax)
  7. Bernie (Richard Linklater)
  8. Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow)
  9. Life of Pi (Ang Lee)
  10. The Turin Horse (Bela Tarr)

Seen since: The Hunt (Thomas Vinterberg), The Kid with a Bike (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne)



  1. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)
  2. Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen)
  3. Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols)
  4. The Descendants (Alexander Payne)
  5. A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg)
  6. The Artist (Michael Hazanavicius)
  7. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi)
  8. Hugo (Martin Scorsese)
  9. Moneyball (Bennett Miller)
  10. Bill Cunningham, New York (Richard Press)



  1. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
  2. The Social Network (David Fincher)
  3. Mysteries of Lisbon (Raúl Ruiz)
  4. Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami)
  5. Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese)
  6. Inception (Christopher Nolan)
  7. Another Year (Mike Leigh)
  8. The Ghost Writer (Roman Polanski)
  9. Winter’s Bone (Debra Granik)
  10. Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich)


If you’re interested in the original posts of my first two top ten lists, they can be found by following the links below:

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