LONDON — Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s “The Assassin” has topped a poll published by Sight & Sound magazine in which 168 U.K. and international film critics nominated their top five films of the year. Todd Haynes’ “Carol” came second and George Miller’s “Mad Max Fury Road” was third.

The results mark 2015 as a year of strong female characters and stories, with seven of the poll’s top 10 films having striking female leads. It was also a good year for documentary features, with Asif Kapadia’s “Amy” and Chantal Akerman’s “No Home Movie” both in the top 10.

Other U.S. movies in the top 20 included Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice” in joint ninth position, Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s “Anomalisa” and David Robert Mitchell’s “It Follows” in joint 11th place, and Pete Docter’s “Inside Out” and Sean Baker’s “Tangerine” sharing 14th place.

TOP 20 FILMS OF 2015
1. The Assassin, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, France/Hong Kong/Taiwan
2. Carol, Todd Haynes, U.K./U.S.
3. Mad Max Fury Road, George Miller, Australia/U.S.
4. Arabian Nights, Miguel Gomes, Switzerland/France/Germany/Portugal
5. Cemetery of Splendor, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, France/U.K./Germany/Malaysia/Thailand
6. No Home Movie, Chantal Akerman, Belgium/France
7. 45 Years, Andrew Haigh, U.K.
8. Son of Saul, Laszlo Nemes, Hungary
=9. Amy, Asif Kapadia, U.K.
=9. Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson, U.S.
=11. Anomalisa, Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson, U.S.
=11. It Follows, David Robert Mitchell, U.S.
13. Phoenix, Christian Petzold, Germany/Poland
=14. Girlhood, Céline Sciamma, France
=14. Hard to Be a God, Aleksei German, Russia
=14. Inside Out, Pete Docter, U.S.
=14. Tangerine, Sean Baker, U.S.
=14. Taxi Tehran, Jafar Panahi, Iran
=19. Horse Money, Pedro Costa, Portugal
=19. The Look of Silence, Joshua Oppenheimer, Denmark/Finland/U.K./Indonesia/Norway