The 50 Best Movies of 2022, According to 165 Critics

“TÁR,” “Aftersun,” and “The Banshees of Inisherin” topped IndieWire’s annual critics poll of the best movies of the year.

We’re in the clubhouse turn of the awards season honoring the best movies of 2022. So it’s worth looking back on what IndieWire’s critics survey of 165 film writers picked as the 50 best movies of 2022 back in December, before the Oscar race had fully taken shape.

Read the full Top 50 list below.

The critics polled, hailing from North America, Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia, for a truly global perspective, were in astonishing agreement about their love of “TÁR.” Not only did they vote it as the best film of 2022, they gave it top honors for Best Director (Todd Field), Best Performance (Cate Blanchett), and Best Screenplay (Field). “TÁR” did receive six Academy Awards nominations, but its best chance for a prize remains Blanchett herself. She won the Golden Globe and BAFTA, but overall the film was more popular with critics groups than the organizations with voting bodies more similar to the Oscars. Likewise, the film that placed at number two on the Top 50 list, “Aftersun,” received Oscars recognition only in the Best Actor category for Paul Mescal — it also topped the list of the best films of 2022 chosen by IndieWire’s own critics. (Two of the films in the Top 10 here, “Decision to Leave” and “NOPE,” did not receive any Oscar nominations at all.)

“The Banshees of Inisherin,” which placed third, is still a major contender for Colin Farrell in the Best Actor race. He was awarded that prize by the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Board of Review, the National Society of Film Critics, and, in the musical or comedy category, the Golden Globes.

It’s impossible not to recognize the momentum being gathered by the number four pick on IndieWire’s critics survey: “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” It gained an early foothold in the race when it won Best Feature way back at the Gotham Awards on November 28. Since then, the accolades have piled up for lead actress Michelle Yeoh (from the National Board of Review and the Golden Globes) and supporting actor Ke Huy Quan (from Critics Choice, Golden Globes, and numerous critics associations, as well as a Gotham Award himself). But the film has been awarded the top prize by many groups: the Critics Choice Movie Awards, the Directors Guild of America (for directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), and the Producers Guild. The last of these might be most telling for its Best Picture chances at the Oscars because the top prize at the PGA Awards has gone on to win Best Picture 23 of the last 33 Academy Awards.

Other Oscar nominees for best picture in the Top 50 of IndieWire’s list include “The Fabelmans” at number five, “Top Gun: Maverick” at number nine, “Triangle of Sadness” at number 15, “Elvis” at 16, and “Women Talking” at 18. “Avatar: The Way of Water” clocked in at 30, and surging nominee “All Quiet on the Western Front” appeared at 32.

Here’s the full critics survey list.

With editorial contributions from Christian Zilko and Samantha Bergeson. 

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