2022 Critics Poll: Best Movies & Shows, According To 165 Critics From Around The World

165 critics from around the world voted in this year’s poll, and one movie topped several major categories in overwhelming majority.

Critical consensus is in the air again. Last year, IndieWire’s annual critics’ poll was dominated by one headline, “Dog Power.” Now, an overwhelming victory happened again. With 165 critics and journalists voting for the best movies and shows in this year’s poll, Todd Field’s “TÁR” storms to number one in several categories with the urgency of an insane leader knocking a competitor off the podium.

The film topped the categories for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Performance and Best Screenplay. It appeared on more than 45% of all votes, with 26 #1 Best Picture rankings. It also ranked second on IndieWire’s own staff list of the best films of 2022.

Staff from IndieWire, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, The Hollywood Reporter, The Atlantic and Entertainment Weekly, as well as freelance writers and staff for newspapers, websites, radio and television from across Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia – as well as throughout the US and Canada have voted. All participants were asked to vote only for films that received theatrical, streaming, or VOD releases in the United States during the past calendar year.

All of the top ten films of 2022 appear in other categories as well. The biggest victory in any single category this time around was for the film that took first place in the Best First Feature category, “Aftersun.” The debut of Charlotte Wells finished first in 82 best feature ballots, and about half of all voters said so. It also ranked 2nd best film overall (and 1st on IndieWire’s own staff list), as well as 5th for Wells as Best Director, 8th for Paul Mescal in Best Performance, and 4th for Best Screenplay. Remarkably, neither the first nor the second film of the comprehensive Best Picture list, “TÁR” and “Aftersun”, appeared on the Best Cinematography list.

The festival powerhouse reappeared in the top ten, with “TÁR” debuting in Venice, then Telluride, and then to a rapturous reception at the New York Film Festival where Jimmy Levine’s joke landed with particular force among the Lincoln Center crowd. “Aftersun” premiered at Cannes Critics’ Week in May, and was followed by bows at Telluride, TIFF, and NYFF.

In fact, every other Top 10 film except “No,” “RRR,” and “Top Gun: Maverick” has screened at a major international festival — and even then, “RRR” director SS Rajamouli has appeared at many festivals since “” “RRR” is back in the awards conversation at TIFF, while “Maverick” has made screen first appearances, to enthusiastic response, at CinemaCon and Cannes. “Nope” also received a special presentation at TIFF, some time after its wide release.

Other films appeared in the top 10 in other categories as well: No. 3 selection, “The Banshees of Inisherin,” also debuted No. 7 in Best Director for Martin McDonagh, No. 2 in Best Performance by Colin Farrell, No. 6. In Best Cinematography, The second place for the best screenplay, and the sixth place for the best international film. Everything Everywhere at Once (#4 Best Picture) also debuted at #2 Best Director for Daniels, #3 Best Performance by Michelle Yeoh, and #3 Best Screenplay; Film #5 “The Fabelmans” also featured Steven Spielberg’s fourth place for best director, fifth place for best cinematography and sixth place for best screenplay.

Of the rest of the top ten, “The Decision to Leave” topped Best Cinematography and Best International Film, while “All the Beauty and Bloodshed” topped Best Documentary. A full list of the 50 best movies will be published later this week.

RRR, (aka RISE ROAR REVOLT), NT Rama Rao Jr., 2022. © Raftar Creations / Courtesy Everett Collection


Courtesy Everett Collection

For the third time, this survey featured a gender-neutral top performer category. Besides its dominant wins as Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay, “TÁR” owned the category for Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of the debunked title boss and her steep fall from grace. In a time of snap judgments, when every person now seems to be defined by only one thing (and even seeks to define himself by only one thing), the way this character is defined by lack of absolutes has resonated far and wide.

Fitting Crowds is the order of the day for characters right now, based on a roster of best performers — in some cases literally, like the many versions of herself that Michelle Yeoh (No. 3) experiences in “Everything Everywhere at Once,” and others in more subtle ways like Paul Mescal (#8) in “Aftersun” (he could be a deeply troubled, loving father) or Guslangie Malanda (#10) in “Saint Omer” (she could be a murderer but her plight still warrants sympathy).

Contradictions like that abound in the Best Documentary category, which is topped by “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” and her portrait of artist and activist Nan Goldin. Complex and irreducible people shine a spotlight several times in this category, such as doomed volcanologists Katherine and Morris Kraft in “Fire of Love” (No. 2), David Bowie in “Moonage Daydream” (No. 3), or imprisoned Russian dissident “Navalny.” (No. 6). Then there is “Mr. Bachmann and His Class” (No. 9), which sounds like the whole world.

As much as it is a time to look back, it is also a time to look forward. Fortunately, we already know of a number of shape-breaking, mind-expanding films set for release in 2023 that are set to colonize the brains of anyone who watches them. Critics were asked to vote on the best 2023 film they had already seen, and at the top of the list was Kelly Richard’s “Encore,” which debuted in Cannes and participated in several other festivals in 2022.

We invite readers to get lost in these results – and use them to consider filling in some of the blind spots. enjoy.

the best movie

TAR, Cate Blanchett, 2022. © Focus Features / courtesy Everett Collection


© Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection

1. “The Library”
2. “After the Sun”
3. “Inisherin’s Ghost”
4. “Everything everywhere at once”
5. “The Fabelmans”
6. “The Decision to Leave”
7. “No”
8. “RRR”
9. “Top Gun: Maverick”
10. “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”

Best exit

Todd Field arriving at the 60th New York Film Festival presentation of TAR, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, New York, October 3, 2022. Photo: Christine Callahan/Everett Collection

Todd Field

1. Todd Field, “LIBRARY”
2. Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, “Everything is Everywhere at Once”
3. S.S. Rajamouli, “RRR”
4. Steven Spielberg, “The Fabelmans”
5. Charlotte Wells, “Aftersun”
6. Park Chan-wook, “The Decision to Leave”
7. Martin McDonagh, “The Banshees of Inisherin”
8. Jerzy Skolimowski, “EO”
9. Jordan Peele, “No”
10. Alice Diop, “Saint Omar”

best performance

TAR, Cate Blanchett, 2022. © Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection

Cate Blanchett in “LIBRARY”

© Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection

1. Cate Blanchett, “LIBRARY”
2. Colin Farrell, “The Banshees of Inisherin”
3. Michelle Yeoh, “Everything is Everywhere at Once”
4. Daniel Didwiller, “Up”
5. Park Ji Min, “Return to Seoul”
6. Brendan Fraser, “The Whale”
7. Tilda Swinton, “The Eternal Daughter”
8. Paul Mescal, “Aftersun”
9. Mia Goth, “Pearl”
10. TIE: Guslagie Malanda, “Saint Omer,”; Austin Butler, “Elvis”; Lea Seydoux, “One Fine Morning”

Best Documentary

All beauty and clumps of blood, Nan Goldin led the protest to have Sackler's name removed from the galleries at the Louvre Museum, Paris, 2022. © Neon/courtesy Everett Collection

“All beauty and bloodshed”

Courtesy Everett Collection

1. “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”
2. “The Fire of Love”
3. “Moonage Daydream”
4. “It all breathes”
5. “The Descendant”
6. “Navalny”
7. “Three Minutes: Lengthening”
8. “The Janes”
9. “Mr. Bachman and His Class”
10. TIE: “Father” / “We Need to Talk About Cosby”

Best Cinematography

Decision to Leave (aka HEOJIL KYOLSHIM), left from top: JEONG Ha-dam, GO Kyung-Pyo;  Right: PARK Hae-il, 2022. © MUBI / courtesy Everett Collection

Decision to leave

Courtesy Everett Collection

1. “The Decision to Leave”
2. “Top Gun: Maverick”
3. TIE: “EO” / “No”
5. “The Fabelmans”
6. “Anchirin”
7. “Athena”
8. “Avatar: The Way of Water”
9. “Bardot”
10. “Ambulance”

best case scenario

TAR, Sophie Kauer, 2022. © Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection


© Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection

1. “The Library”
2. “Anchirin”
3. “Everything everywhere at once”
4. “After the Sun”
5. “Women Speak”
6. “The Fabelmans”
7. “Future Crimes”
8. “Onion Glass”
9. “Saint-Omer”
10. TIE: “Eternal Daughter” / “After Yang”

Best International Film

DECISION TO LEAVE (aka HEOJIL KYOLSHIM), TANG Wei, 2022. © MUBI / courtesy Everett Collection

Decision to leave

Courtesy Everett Collection

1. “The Decision to Leave”
2. “RRR”
3. “EO”
4. “All Quiet on the Western Front”
5. “Don’t bear it”
6. “Anchirin”
7. “Saint-Omer”
8. “It happens”
9. “Begin the Road”
10. “The Prayer”

Best feature first

After, from left: Paul Mescal, Frankie Curio, 2022. © A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection

“after the sun”

Courtesy Everett Collection

1. “After the Sun”
2. “Saint-Omer”
3. “Turn Red”
4. “Nanny”
5- “Morena”
6. “Begin the Road”
7. “Emily the Criminal”
8. “We all go to the World’s Fair”
9. “Inspection”
10. “Three Minutes: Lengthening”

Best opening movies of 2023


Courtesy of A24

1. “The Appearance”
2. “Goodland”
3. “Close”
4. “Human Body Structure”
5. “The Pacific”

Click on the next page to see a list of the critics who voted.

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