The American Film Institute has revealed its top ten movies of the year, a list which is quite often indicative of the Oscars’ Best Picture nominations.
Included among them are race relations comedy drama “BlacKkKlansman,” Marvel superhero adventure (and the year’s second biggest box office hit) “Black Panther,” soundscape survival horror “A Quiet Place” and musical sequel “Mary Poppins Returns.”
They join a clutch of established awards season frontrunners: “Eighth Grade,” “The Favourite,” “First Reformed,” “Green Book,” “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “A Star is Born.”
All have picked up numerous awards on the festival circuit and from earlier awards ceremony announcements — the Gothams, the National Board of Review, British Independent Film Awards, and so on.
Now, thanks to significant overlap between the AFI’s Movies of the Year and the Academy Awards’ Best Picture shortlist, the AFI Awards have come to be seen as a solid predictor of Oscar chances.
For example, in 2018, 2017, 2015 and 2014, seven of the nine Best Picture nominees had also appeared on the AFI’s top 10 list. In 2016, when the Academy named eight rather than nine Best Picture hopefuls, six were AFI honorees.
So expect three-quarters of the Academy’s 2019 nominees to come from the AFI’s pick of the crop when announced on January 22.
As for the Best Picture Oscar itself, the prestige accolade is usually best predicted by the Directors Guild of America, Producers Guild of America, and Screen Actors Guild awards, in that order. The Directors and Producers Guild usually agree and, when they don’t, one of them lands on the Best Picture recipient the vast majority of the time.
One recent and rare exception to the rule occurred at the 89th Academy Awards in 2017, when “Moonlight” clinched Best Picture, despite having neither Directors, Producers or Screen Actors Guild awards to its name.
Yet “Moonlight” was always on the AFI’s list to start with.