Saturday, April 20, 2024

American Film Institute Snubs All Streaming Films for 2022 Best, Also Ignores Much Hyped “Whale”


Yesterday when I was traveling the American Film Institute announced its best films of the year.

And there was a big surprise: no choices from Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Hulu or any other streaming entity. Nada.

All 10 films, as well as special 11th, were from the major studios.

Also snubbed were several heavily hyped films that did come from the studios including “The Whale,” starring Brendan Fraser, and “Till” and “Bones and All.” (The former is from A24, the lattert two from MGM, now considered part of Amazon).

The lack of Netflix on the list is surprising because they spend millions on awards campaigns. But this year their only real prospect, Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio,” was thought to be in the running.

The top 10 movies are: Avatar 2, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, Nope, She Said, Tar, Top Gun Maverick, The Woman King, and Women Talking. The special award went to The Banshees of Inisherin because it’s technically a foreign film but in the English language.

About half of these will make it to the final round of the Oscars: Elvis, The Fabelmans, She Said, Tar, and Top Gun. The others are up in the air. The AFI also rejected Black Panther Wakanda Forever, Empire of Light, and Armageddon Time as well as Amsterdam and Babylon.

The whole list feels right, although I would have swapped out something for “Till.” The story was important enough to be included.

The AFI also chose 10 TV series including The Bear, Severance, Hacks, The White Lotus, Pachinko, Mo, Somebody Somewhere, Reservation Dogs, and the final season of Better Call Saul. Two perennials were missing– Succession and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel — because their most recent seasons were covered last year.

The snubbing of The Whale is most interesting. Originally this was the most overhyped movie of the season. Then when it finally started getting reviews, the numbers were not encouraging. It’s now at 67 on Rotten Tomatoes. Not only did the AFI dismiss it, but the National Bored of Review ignored it totally despite giving its studio, A24, seven nods because one of its execs is on their board. Even his insider participation didn’t help!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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