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American Film Institute is up in the air with Coraline and a serious, single man--who has a hangover

The American Film Institute has announced its top 10 films of 2009. Looking at the list, it is refreshing to see a critical consensus that actually breaks from the identical lists from several other award groups. Here are those films in alphabetical order:

Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster star in "The Messenger" -- one of ten films voted as the year's best
Oscilloscope Laboratories

1. Coraline
2. The Hangover
3. The Hurt Locker
4. The Messenger
5. Precious
6. A Serious Man
7. A Single Man
8. Sugar
9. Up
10. Up in the Air

Obviously, there are some striking omissions: Inglourious Basterds, Invictus, The Lovely Bones, Avatar, Nine, An Education, Julie & Julia, Fantastic Mr. Fox and so on. These omissions matter because several other critics groups have already mentioned or awarded those films in some manner. What the American Film Institute offers is a new wave of thinking and provides insightful reflection upon the year. Coraline came out at the beginning of 2009 and was later overshadowed by the critical reaction to Pixar's Up and the massive box office successes of animated films like Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs.

So here AFI gives weight and equal attention to both critically acclaimed movies as well as theatrical hits that connected with the mass public (this explains the inclusion of The Hangover). It's hard to say if even half of these films will go on to Oscar glory but this list is a legitimate act of acknowledging some of the singular works that might find it difficult to gain Oscar votes in the coming month (Sugar is a strong film that most voters won't think twice about for example).

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  • Carson 5 years ago

    I was expecting an appearance by some Basterds.

  • Camron Barth 5 years ago

    I love Coraline! Coraline and Sunshine Cleaning are 2009's best movies!