AFI Awards: Top Films and Shows Include ‘Dune,’ ‘The Power of the Dog’ and ‘Schmigadoon!’

Other honorees include "Don't Look Up," "Nightmare Alley" and "Tick, Tick ... Boom!" with a special award for "Belfast."

AFI Awards 2022 - Top 10 - Tick Tick Boom, Schmigadoon! and Dune

Films from Paul Thomas Anderson, Jane Campion, Joel Coen, Guillermo del Toro, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Denis Villeneuve are recipients of the 2021 AFI Awards.

The honors give a nice boost for the films’ awards campaigns leading up to the holiday break, especially as ballots are in the hands of Critics Choice and SAG voters. Netflix led the charge on the film side with Adam McKay’s “Don’t Look Up,” Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” and Miranda’s “Tick, Tick … Boom!” all making the cut and increasing their best picture nomination chances.

Apple Original Films and Warner Bros. were next in line with two films apiece. Apple nabbed spots for summer crowdpleaser “CODA” from Siân Heder and the William Shakespeare adaptation “The Tragedy of Macbeth” from Joel Coen, a co-distribution with A24. The latter studio picked up mentions for sci-fi blockbuster “Dune” from Villeneuve and the uplifting sports film “King Richard” from Reinaldo Marcus Green.

Two late December remakes, both helmed by Oscar-winning filmmakers, got enough eyes on them in time for voting — the neo-noir thriller “Nightmare Alley” from Oscar-winner del Toro and the musical romance “West Side Story” from Steven Spielberg.

Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” was given an AFI Special Award, as international produced films don’t typically qualify for a top 10 listing. Other films such as “Roma” and “Parasite” were also recognized this way in the past. The black-and-white drama will share the unique distinction with the documentary “Summer of Soul” from Questlove and Netflix’s South Korean hit series “Squid Game.”

Notable snubs included Aaron Sorkin’s “Being the Ricardos” from Amazon Studios, which had its review embargo lifted this week and debuted at 65% on Rotten Tomatoes. Other films that were angling for boosts but are not present include Maggie Gyllenhaal’s “The Lost Daughter,” Jeymes Samuel’s “The Harder They Fall” as well as Ridley Scott’s “House of Gucci” and “The Last Duel.”

Last year, six of the 10 films were nominated for best picture at the Oscars, missing “Promising Young Woman” and “The Father,” although the latter was ineligible. Instead, they included Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods,” George C. Wolfe’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Regina King’s “One Night in Miami” and Pete Docter’s “Soul.”

HBO (and HBO Max) dominated the television side, with four shows making the cut: “Hacks,” “Mare of Easttown,” “Succession” and “The White Lotus.” Apple TV Plus pulled off two series mentions for the musical “Schmigadoon!” and their Emmy-winning comedy “Ted Lasso.” Amazon Prime Video was able to get one final mention for Barry Jenkins’ masterful “The Underground Railroad.” At the same time, Netflix, FX and Disney all pulled in one show apiece with “Maid,” “Reservation Dogs” and “WandaVision,” respectively.

Launched in 2000, the American Film Institute was established to recognize films and TV programs that are “deemed culturally and artistically representative of the year.”

Selections for the best films and TV series are made through AFI’s jury process, which includes artists, critics, scholars and AFI Trustees.

The full lineup is below:

AFI Movies of the Year

  • “CODA” (Apple Original Films)
  • “Don’t Look Up” (Netflix)
  • “Dune” (Warner Bros.)
  • “King Richard” (Warner Bros.)
  • “Licorice Pizza” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
  • “Nightmare Alley” (Searchlight Pictures)
  • “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)
  • “Tick, Tick … Boom!” (Netflix)
  • “The Tragedy of Macbeth” (Apple Original Films/A24)
  • “West Side Story” (20th Century Studios)

AFI Television Programs of the Year

  • “Hacks” (HBO Max)
  • “Maid” (Netflix)
  • “Mare of Easttown” (HBO)
  • “Reservation Dogs” (FX)
  • “Schmigadoon!” (Apple TV Plus)
  • “Succession” (HBO)
  • “Ted Lasso” (Apple TV Plus)
  • “The Underground Railroad” (Prime Video)
  • “WandaVision” (Disney Plus)
  • “The White Lotus” (HBO)

AFI Special Award

  • “Belfast” (Focus Features)
  • “Squid Game” (Netflix)
  • “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” (Searchlight Pictures)

The AFI Awards will take place on Jan. 7 in Los Angeles.

2022 Academy Awards Predictions