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The Big Post of 2012 Film Critic Top Ten Lists

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by Matt Singer
December 12, 2012 12:56 PM
8 Comments
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"The Master."

Numerous readers have asked for this post, and I've always been a firm believer that the customer is always right. If film critic top ten lists ye want, then film critic top ten lists ye shall have (along with unmotivated usage of Ye Olde English).

The real flood of top ten lists will hit early next week (that's when mine goes up too), so this post will be updated occasionally as more critics publish their favorites; if you see something (or write something) you'd like included, send me a link on Twitter. Also: I strongly encourage you to click over to every author's original piece, where you'll find expanded explanations for their choices, conversations about the year in film, and some damn good criticism. They worked hard on these lists, and their writing is worth your time and support.

And now: on with the meaningless yet highly entertaining ranking of the year in film! (If you're curious, you can find my own top ten list right here.)

Film Critics' 2012 Top Ten Lists:
(Last Update: Wednesday, January 1st, 6:45 PM)

Sam Adams, The A.V. Club:

1. "Moonrise Kingdom"
2. "It's Such a Beautiful Day"
3. "Middle of Nowhere"
4. "Magic Mike"
5. "Killer Joe"
6. "Amour"
7. "The Deep Blue Sea"
8. "Wuthering Heights"
9. "Barbara"
10. "The Master"

Ethan Anderton, First Showing:

1. "Skyfall"
2. "Zero Dark Thirty"
3. "Silver Linings Playbook"
4. "Lincoln"
5. "Sound of My Voice"
6. "The Avengers"
7. "Safety Not Guaranteed"
8. "Cloud Atlas"
9. "The Cabin in the Woods"
10. "Life of Pi"

The writers of The A.V. Club:

1. "The Master"
2. "Zero Dark Thirty"
3. "Moonrise Kingdom"
4. "Holy Motors"
5. "The Deep Blue Sea"
6. "The Loneliest Planet"
7. "Amour"
8. "It's Such a Beautiful Day"
9. "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
10. "Wuthering Heights"

Christopher Bell, The Playlist:

1. "This Is Not a Film"
2. "Elena"
3. "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia"
4. "Tabu"
5. "Almayer's Folly"
6. "The Comedy"/"New Jerusalem"
7. "Snow On Tha Bluff"
8. "Oki's Movie"/"The Day He Arrives"
9. "The Turin Horse"
10. "Amour"

Meredith Borders, Badass Digest:

1. "Cloud Atlas"
2. "Django Unchained"
3. "The Cabin in the Woods"
4. "Moonrise Kingdom"
5. "The Master"
6. "Looper"
7. "Lincoln"
8. "Zero Dark Thirty"
9. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"
10. "The Raid: Redemption" / "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (tie)

Richard Brody, The New Yorker:

1. "Moonrise Kingdom"
2. "Holy Motors"
3. "The Master"
4. "This Is Not a Film"
5. "Oki's Movie"
6. "Tabu"
7. "Red Hook Summer"
8. "Damsels in Distress"
9. "This Is 40"
10. "The Color Wheel"

Jake Coyle, Associated Press:

1. "Amour"
2. "The Master"
3. "Margaret"
4. "Moonrise Kingdom"
5. "Not Fade Away"
6. "Lincoln"
7. "Jeff, Who Lives at Home"
8. "The Dust Bowl"
9. "Holy Motors"
10. "Premium Rush"

Mike D'Angelo, The A.V. Club:

1. "Holy Motors"
2. "The Imposter"
3. "The Loneliest Planet"
4. "Miss Bala"
5. "Moonrise Kingdom"
6. "Amour"
7. "The Deep Blue Sea"
8. "Only the Young"
9. "Looper"
10. "This Must Be the Place"

Manohla Dargis, New York Times:

-"Amour
-"The Deep Blue Sea"
-"The Gatekeepers"
-"Holy Motors"
-"The Master" 
-"Moonrise Kingdom"
-"Once Upon a Time in Anatolia"
-"Searching For Sugar Man"
-"Silver Linings Playbook"
-"Zero Dark Thirty"

Dennis Dermody, Paper:

1. "Holy Motors"
2. "The Imposter"
3. "The Master"
4. "Keep the Lights On"
5. "Beloved"
6. "The Deep Blue Sea"
7. "Cloud Atlas"
8. "The Cabin in the Woods"
9. "God Bless America"
10. "The Raid: Redemption"

Alonso Duralde, Linoleum Knife:

1. "How to Survive a Plague"
2. "This Is Not a Film"
3. "Holy Motors"
4. "Amour"
5. "Silver Linings Playbook"
6. "Bernie"
7. "Keep the Lights On"
8. "Lincoln"
9. "Goon"
10. "Skyfall"/"The Avengers" (tie)

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times:

-"Arbitrage"
-"Argo"
-"Beasts of the Southern Wild"
-"End of Watch"
-"Flight"
-"Life of Pi"
-"Lincoln"
-"Oslo, August 31st"
-"The Sessions"
-"A Simple Life"

David Edelstein, New York Magazine:

1. "Zero Dark Thirty"
2. "Lincoln"
3. "Amour"
4. "The Gatekeepers"
5. "The Deep Blue Sea"
6. "Life of Pi"
7. "How to Survive a Plague"
8. "Pitch Perfect"
9. "Oslo, August 31st"
10. "Friends With Kids"

David Ehrlich, Movies.com:

1. "Holy Motors"
2. "Like Someone in Love"
3. "Amour"
4. "Zero Dark Thirty"
5. "Django Unchained"
6. "The Master"
7. "Something in the Air"
8. "The Comedy"
9. "Anna Karenina"
10. "Girl Walk // All Day"

Devin Faraci, Badass Digest:

1. "Zero Dark Thirty"
2. "Django Unchained."
3. "Lincoln"
4. "The Cabin in the Woods"
5. "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
6. "Cloud Atlas"
7. "The Master"
8. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"
9. "Holy Motors"
10. "Moonrise Kingdom"

David Fear, Time Out New York:

1. "The Master"
2. "Compliance"
3. "Bestiaire"
4. "Zero Dark Thirty"
5. "Magic Mike"
6. "Lincoln"
7. "The Raid: Redemption"
8. "Amour"
9. "Keep the Lights On"
10. "Wuthering Heights"

The writers of Film Comment:

1. "Holy Motors"
2. "The Master"
3. "Moonrise Kingdom"
4. "This is Not a Film"
5. "Amour"
6. "The Turin Horse"
7. "The Kid With a Bike"
8. "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia"
9. "Lincoln"
10. "Zero Dark Thirty"

Film Crit Hulk, Badass Digest:

1. "Holy Motors"
2. "Django Unchained"
3. "Looper"
4. "The Raid: Redemption"
5. "Moonrise Kingdom"
6. "The Cabin in the Woods"
7. "Zero Dark Thirty"
8. "Paul Williams: Still Alive"
9. "The Master"
10. "Cloud Atlas"/"Smashed" (tie)

Charlie Gates, Stuff:

-"Attack the Block"
-"The Artist"
-"The Descendants"
-"The Grey"
-"We Need to Talk About Kevin"
-"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
-"Margin Call"
-"Headhunters"
-"Skyfall" 
-"Moonrise Kingdom"

David Germain, Associated Press:

1. "Moonrise Kingdom"
2. "Life of Pi"
3. "Zero Dark Thirty"
4. "Argo"
5. "Searching For Sugar Man"
6. "Rust and Bone"
7. "The Master"
8. "Lincoln"
9. "West of Memphis"
10. "Looper"

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly:

1. "Lincoln"
2. "Amour"
3. "Silver Linings Playbook"
4. "Room 237"
5. "Zero Dark Thirty"
6. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"
7. "Killing Them Softly"
8. "Argo"
9. "Flight"
10. "Bernie"

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic:

1. "Argo"
2. "Moonrise Kingdom"
3. "Zero Dark Thirty"
4. "Lincoln"
5. "Silver Linings Playbook"
6. "This is Not a Film"
7. "The Master"
8. "The Cabin in the Woods"
9. "Skyfall"
10. "Wreck-It Ralph"

William Goss, Film.com:

1. "The Grey"
2. "Holy Motors"
3. "Looper"
4. "The Cabin in the Woods"
5. "Oslo, August 31st"
6. "Cloud Atlas"
7. "Shut Up and Play the Hits"
8. "The Raid: Redemption"
9. "ParaNorman"
10. "The Queen of Versailles"

Tim Grierson, Deadspin:

1. "The Turin Horse"
2. "Elena"
3. "The Master"
4. "Compliance"
5. "It's Such a Beautiful Day"
6. "Room 237"
7. "Zero Dark Thirty"
8. "Detropia"
9. "Amour"
10. "Holy Motors"

The writers of The Guardian:

1. "The Master"
2. "Ted"
3. "Amour"
4. "Silver Linings Playbook"
5. "Holy Motors"
6. "This is Not a Film"
7. "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia"
8. "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
9. "Alps"
10. "The Queen of Versailles"

The writers of Hey U Guys' bloggers poll:

1. "Skyfall"
2. "The Avengers"
3. "Moonrise Kingdom"
4. "The Dark Knight Rises" (tie)
4. "Argo" (tie)
6. "The Master"
7. "Looper"
8. "Amour"
9. "The Raid: Redemption"
10. "Holy Motors" 

Jordan Hoffman, ScreenCrush:

1. "Moonrise Kingdom"
2. "Zero Dark Thirty"
3. "Sound of My Voice"
4. "Lincoln"
5. "The Master"
6. "The Avengers"
7. "Holy Motors"
8. "5 Broken Cameras"
9. "Compliance"
10. "The Grey"

Stephen Holden, The New York Times:

1. "Lincoln"
2. "Amour"
3. "Zero Dark Thirty"
4. "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
5. "Argo"
6. "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia"
7. "Elena"
8. "How to Survive a Plague"
9. "The Invisible War"
10. "The Sessions"

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post:

1. "Zero Dark Thirty"
2. "Lincoln"
3. "The Waiting Room"
4. "Monsieur Lazhar"
5. "Middle of Nowhere"
6. "This is Not a Film"
7. "Argo"
8. "Margaret"
9. "Anna Karenina"
10. "Amour"

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More: Top Ten Lists, 2012 Critics Polls

8 Comments

  • Raleigh | February 16, 2014 5:55 PMReply

    Are we going to get anything like this for 2013?

  • Wingman1969 | January 2, 2013 12:47 PMReply

    http://canadaam.ctvnews.ca/movie-reviews/richard-crouse-s-top-10-best-and-worst-movie-picks-of-2012-1.1096296

    Here's another critics top 10

  • Sam Elsaadi | December 29, 2012 10:12 AMReply

    Matt what about Richard roeper's top 10?

  • @dvideostor | December 20, 2012 12:43 PMReply

    I don't see that dude, Matt Singer's list on here yet.

    http://blogs.indiewire.com/criticwire/matt-singers-top-ten-films-of-2012 In case you need it, Matt Singer.

  • @dvideostor | December 18, 2012 12:02 PMReply

    Do the Sight & Sound and AFI lists not count?

  • Matt Singer | December 18, 2012 1:21 PM

    I'm not sure AFI is voted on by critics. However Sight & Sound absolutely is -- and I just added it. Thanks.

  • just me | December 17, 2012 2:26 PMReply

    Cosmopolis should be high in every each of these lists. what about The Odd Life of Timothy Green? imho it's a must see gem.. plus where are not so many intelligent movies for the whole family out there. i highly recommend this one. oh, and Avengers .. i almost threw up in my mouth watching it.

  • trentflix | December 12, 2012 3:48 PMReply

    No offense but are the critics at the New York Post only allowed to watch 11 or 12 films a year?

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