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‘Carol’ Tops Variety Film Critics Poll

Todd Haynes’ “Carol” is the best film of 2015, followed by Hou Hsiao-hsien’s “The Assassin” and George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” according to a survey of 14 Variety reviewers around the world.

Critical consensus, elusive under any circumstances, is especially hard to nail down at a publication with reviewers based in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Paris, London, Rome and Hong Kong. Indeed, one of the purposes of this inaugural year-end poll is to provide a sense of the richness and diversity of this year’s offerings beyond American multiplexes and arthouses. Our critics outside the U.S. were thus invited to include films released in their home cities and from the festival circuit.

For ranked lists, a critic’s first choice received 10 points, the second received nine points, the third received eight points, and so on. For unranked lists, each title received 5.5 points.


1. “Carol” (57 points, 7 lists)

2. “The Assassin” (49 points, 7 lists)

3. “Mad Max: Fury Road” (44 points, 6 lists)

4. “Spotlight” (43.5 points, 6 lists)

5. “Phoenix” (35 points, 4 lists)

6. “The Look of Silence” (32 points, 4 lists)

7. “Inside Out” (27 points, 5 lists)

8. “Brooklyn” (26 points, 5 lists)

9. “45 Years” (20 points, 2 lists)

10. “Son of Saul” (19 points, 3 lists)


Senior Features Writer (Los Angeles)

1. “Ex Machina”
2. “Creed”
3. “Brooklyn”
4. “Love & Mercy”
5. “Inside Out”
6. “Spotlight”
7. “Eden”
8. “The Tribe”
9. “Heaven Knows What”
10. “Amy”

Associate Editor, Features (Los Angeles)
1. “Inside Out”
2. “Mad Max: Fury Road”
3. “Carol”
4. “Anomalisa”
5. “Spotlight”
6. “It Follows”
7. “Room”
8. “White God”
9. “Steve Jobs”
10. “Chi-Raq”

Film Critic (London)
1. “Arabian Nights”
2. “Carol”
3. “Krisha”
4. “Aaaaaaaah!”
5. “The Look of Silence”
6. “Mad Max: Fury Road”
7. “Ex Machina”
8. “Force Majeure”
9. “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence”
10. “The Martian”

Chief Film Critic (Los Angeles)
1. “The Assassin”
2. “Mad Max: Fury Road”
3. “Phoenix”
4. “The Look of Silence”
5. “Carol”
6. “The Tribe”
7. “Spotlight”
8. “Inside Out”
9. “Girlhood”
10. “Brooklyn”

Chief International Film Critic (Paris)

1. “Son of Saul”
2. “Spotlight”
3. “Steve Jobs”
4. “Inside Out”
5. “Tangerine”
6. “Above and Below”
7. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
8. “The Martian”
9. “Mustang”
10. “Mon roi”

Film Critic (San Francisco)

1. “Phoenix”
2. “Buzzard”
3. “Carol”
4. “Heaven Knows What”
5. “Approaching the Elephant”
6. “In Jackson Heights”
7. “The Assassin”
8. “The Hateful Eight”
9. “We Come as Friends”
10. “Tangerine”

Chief Asia Film Critic (Hong Kong)
1. “The Assassin”
2. “0.5 Mm”
3. “Our Little Sister”
4. “4th Place”
5. “Happy Hour”
6. “The Throne”
7. “Mr. Zhang Believes”
8. “A Copy of My Mind”
9. “Young Patriot”
10. “A Simple Goodbye”

Film Critic (Houston)
“Best of Enemies”
“The Big Short”
“The Hateful Eight”
“I Believe in Unicorns”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
“Steve Jobs”

Film Critic (London)
1. “45 Years”
2. “Carol”
3. “Mad Max: Fury Road”
4. “Arabian Nights”
5. “Magic Mike XXL”
6. “The Demons”
7. “The Lobster”
8. “Victoria”
9. “The Endless River”
10. “Joy”

Film Critic (Stamford, Conn.)

1. “Mad Max: Fury Road”
2. “The Look of Silence”
3. “Phoenix”
4. “Brooklyn”
5. “The Assassin”
6. “Hard to Be a God”
7. “Spotlight”
8. “Slow West”
9. “James White”
10. “Bone Tomahawk”

Film Critic (Chicago)

1. “Spotlight”
2. “Slow West”
3. “Son of Saul”
4. “Timbuktu”
5. “The Diary of a Teenage Girl”
6. “Amy”
7. “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”
8. “Taxi”
9. “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence”
10. “Inside Out”

Film Critic (Los Angeles)

1. “Clouds of Sils Maria”
2. “Anomalisa”
3. “The Diary of a Teenage Girl”
4. “Boy and the World”
5. “The Assassin”
6. “Bridge of Spies”
7. “The Second Mother”
8. “Heart of a Dog”
9. “Brooklyn”
10. “Mustang”

Film Critic (Chicago)

1. “The Look of Silence”
2. “Phoenix”
3. “Carol”
4. “Brooklyn”
5. “The Assassin”
6. “Heaven Knows What”
7. “It Follows”
8. “Mad Max: Fury Road”
9. “The Hateful Eight”
10. “Western”

Film Critic (Rome)
1. “45 Years”
2. “Carol”
3. “Blood of My Blood”
4. “The Assassin”
5. “The Lobster”
6. “Youth”
7. “Francophonia”
8. “Thirst”
9. “Land and Shade”
10. “Son of Saul”

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