Film Poll: Top 10 Movies by Year, 1999–2016


If nothing else, the movies remain the culture’s supreme form of self-actualization.” That was former Voice film critic J. Hoberman in his introduction to the first annual Village Voice Film Poll, published in the January 4, 2000, issue. Hoberman’s remark would almost certainly be disputed in today’s digital media–saturated environment. And yet ranking and debating the year’s best films remains a time-honored tradition, one the Voice has kept up for nearly twenty years. (The one exception occurred in 2006, when former Voice editor Dennis Lim moved the poll over to IndieWire due to what he generously called “recent developments.”)

Sure, the film industry, not to mention this publication, has undergone huge changes over the years. But movies keep being made, and we keep watching them and arguing about them. You might recall some of your own debates scrolling through this list of the top ten films of the year from 1999 to 2016, as chosen by the Voice’s critics.

“Being John Malkovich” (1999)

1999

1. Being John Malkovich

2. Topsy-Turvy

3. All About My Mother

4. Rosetta

5. Election

6. The Straight Story

7. Boys Don’t Cry

8. Magnolia

9. Flowers of Shanghai

10. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

“Beau Travail” (1999)

2000 

1. Beau travail

2. Yi yi

3. The House of Mirth

4. The Wind Will Carry Us

5. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

6. Dancer in the Dark

7. Humanité

8. Ratcatcher

9. In the Mood for Love

10. Marcel Proust’s Time Regained

Laura Elena Harring and Melissa George in “Mulholland Dr.” (2001)

2001

1. Mulholland Drive

2. In the Mood for Love

3. Ghost World

4. Memento

5. A.I. Artificial Intelligence

6. Waking Life

7. In the Bedroom

8. The Royal Tenenbaums

9. The Circle

10. Fat Girl

Dennis Haysbert and Julianne Moore in “Far from Heaven” (2002)

2002

1. Far From Heaven

2. Y Tu Mamá También

3. Adaptation

4. Time Out

5. Russian Ark

6. Punch-Drunk Love

7. What Time Is It There?

8. The Fast Runner (Atanarjuat)

9. Talk to Her

10. About Schmidt

Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray in “Lost in Translation” (2003)

2003

1. Lost in Translation

2. Elephant

3. Demonlover

4. Capturing the Friedmans

5. The Son

6. The Fog of War

7. American Splendor 

8. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

9. Kill Bill: Vol. 1

10. Unknown Pleasures

Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in “Before Sunset” (2004)
Directed by Richard Linklater
Shown from left:

2004

1. Before Sunset

2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

3. Dogville

4. Sideways

5. Goodbye, Dragon Inn

6. Notre musique

7. Crimson Gold

8. I Heart Huckabees

9. Vera Drake

10. Moolaadé

Maria Bello in “A History of Violence” (2005)

2005

1. A History of Violence

2. 2046

3. Kings and Queen

4. Grizzly Man

5. The World

6. Tropical Malady

7. The Squid and the Whale

8. Caché

9. The Holy Girl

10. Last Days

Lino Ventura (left) in “Army of Shadows” (1969) aka “L’Armee des ombres”

2006

1. Army of Shadows

2. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

3. United 93

4. The Queen

5. Letters From Iwo Jima

6. The Departed

7. Three Times

8. L’enfant

9. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

10. Pan’s Labyrinth

“There Will Be Blood” (2007)

2007

1. There Will Be Blood

2. No Country for Old Men

3. Zodiac

4. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

5. I’m Not There

6. Syndromes and a Century

7. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

8. Killer of Sheep

9. Ratatouille

10. Colossal Youth

“WALL-E” (2008)

2008

1. WALL-E

2. Flight of the Red Balloon

3. Happy-Go-Lucky

4. Still Life

5. A Christmas Tale

6. Waltz With Bashir

7. Milk

8. Wendy and Lucy

9. Let the Right One In

10. Synecdoche, New York

Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker” (2008)

2009

1. The Hurt Locker

2. Summer Hours

3. A Serious Man

4. Inglourious Basterds

5. 35 Shots of Rum

6. The Headless Woman

7. Police, Adjective

8. Fantastic Mr. Fox

9. Two Lovers

10. Up

Andrew Garfield (left) and Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg in “The Social Network” (2010)

2010

1. The Social Network

2. Carlos

3. Winter’s Bone

4. The Ghost Writer

5. Everyone Else

6. Dogtooth

7. Black Swan

8. Mother

9. Wild Grass

10. Toy Story 3

Jessica Chastain in “The Tree of Life” (2011)

2011

1. The Tree of Life

2. A Separation

3. Melancholia

4. Certified Copy

5. Mysteries of Lisbon

6. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

7. Margaret

8. Meek’s Cutoff

9. Drive

10. Take Shelter

Joaquin Phoenix in “The Master” (2012)

2012

1. The Master

2. Zero Dark Thirty

3. Holy Motors

4. Moonrise Kingdom

5. This Is Not a Film

6. Amour

7. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

8. The Turin Horse

9. Lincoln

10. Tabu

Oscar Isaac in “Inside Llewyn Davis” (2013)

2013 

1. Inside Llewyn Davis

2. Her

3. 12 Years a Slave

4. Before Midnight

5. The Act of Killing

6. Leviathan

7. Upstream Color

8. Gravity

9. Frances Ha

10. Blue Is the Warmest Color

Patricia Arquette and Ellar Coltrane in “Boyhood”
(2014)

2014

1. Boyhood

2. Under the Skin

3. The Grand Budapest Hotel

4. Only Lovers Left Alive

5. Goodbye to Language

6. Two Days, One Night

7. The Immigrant

8. Inherent Vice

9. Whiplash

10. Gone Girl

Charlize Theron in “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015)

2015

1. Mad Max: Fury Road

2. Carol

3. Spotlight

4. Phoenix

5. Tangerine

6. Anomalisa

7. Clouds of Sils Maria

8. Inside Out

9. Brooklyn

10. The Assassin

Alex Hibbert (left) and Mahershala Ali in “Moonlight” (2016)

2016

1. Moonlight

2. Manchester by the Sea

3. Toni Erdmann

4. Paterson

5. O.J.: Made in America

6. La La Land

7. Elle

8. The Handmaiden

9. Cameraperson

10. Certain Women