The American Film Institute Awards' list of the top 10 movies of 2008 includes lots of predictable favorites like "The Dark Knight," "Wall-E" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," but there are surprising omissions. Among the missing: "Doubt," "The Reader," "Revolutionary Road," "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" and "The Visitor." "Slumdog Millionaire" isn't cited because it's a foreign production (Britain).
The inclusion of two comic book flicks ("The Dark Knight," "Iron Man") and one animated film ("Wall-E") isn't unusual because the American Film Institute Awards usually make an effort to include popular movies that are often left off snooty critics' top 10 lists. In the past, such frat-boyish comedies as "Knocked Up" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" also made the AFI Awards list, but this year's equivalents such as "Tropic Thunder" and "Pineapple Express" aren't cited.
The AFI Awards' choices add curious twists to this year's derby track. "Milk" was snubbed in the best picture race at the recent Golden Globe nominations, but made the institute's top 10 rundown. "Revolutionary Road" rallied at the Globe bids after being snubbed earlier in the week at the Critics' Choice Awards, but it was just tripped up by the American Film Institute.
What does this list mean for the Oscars derby? Perhaps a lot, perhaps not. "Sweeney Todd" and "American Gangster" were left off the list last year just prior to being snubbed by Oscar in the best-pic race. "Dreamgirls" made the cut in 2006 but wasn't nominated at the Oscars. That same year, however, Oscar's best picture champ "The Departed" was left off the AFI list.
AFI'S 10 BEST MOVIES OF 2008
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Dark Knight"
"Wendy and Lucy"
The jury that decides the list is a politburo of journalists, academics and industry honchos, chaired by Leonard Maltin of "Entertainment Tonight." The jurors: Jeanine Basinger, Wesleyan University; Mary Corey, UCLA; Mark Harris, author, Entertainment Weekly; Jim Hosney, American Film Institute; Rick Jewell, University of Southern California; Elvis Mitchell, The Treatment; Daniel Petrie Jr., writer, producer, director; Tom Pollock, producer, vice chair and chair emeritus, AFI Board of Trustees; Richard Schickel, Time; Vivian Sobchack, UCLA, AFI Trustee Emeritus; Anne Thompson, Variety; Robert Towne, writer, producer, director. See more at the AFI site.
To see the AFI Awards' list of best TV shows of 2008, CLICK HERE!
Photos: Disney, Warner Bros., Oscilloscope Pictures