AFI Awards: ‘Nope,’ ‘Avatar 2’ and ‘The White Lotus’ Among Best of 2022, Streamers Shut Out in Film

Other honorees include 'She Said,' 'The Woman King' and 'Women Talking,' with a special award for 'The Banshees of Inisherin'

Avatar: The Way of Water -- "The White Lotus" -- "Nope"

Universal Pictures dominated the AFI Awards 2022 film honorees, with Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans,” Jordan Peele’s “Nope” and Maria Schrader’s “She Said” making the coveted top 10 films of the year list.

Three films helmed by women directors are among the top movies. In addition to Schrader, Gina Prince Bythewood’s “The Woman King” and Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking” were listed, giving hope to their films’ best picture chances.

Also among the inclusions were a slew of blockbusters and crowdpleasers, including James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water,” Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis,” the Daniels’ “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Joseph Kosinski’s “Top Gun: Maverick” and Prince-Bythewood’s “The Woman King.”

Auteur-driven films weren’t forgotten, as Todd Field’s “Tár” got a needed bounce back after being shut out of the National Board of Review awards this week.

Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin” was given an AFI Special Award, as internationally produced films don’t typically qualify for the top 10 listings. Other past special honorees include “Belfast” (2021), “Parasite” (2019) and “Roma” (2018).

The AFI honors boost awards campaigns as the holiday break looms, especially with the opening of BAFTA round one voting today and the Oscars shortlist on Monday.

The big surprise is that there are no movies from the streaming platforms, notably Amazon, Apple and Netflix, among AFI’s top 10, a first since 2016. That isn’t the nail in the coffin for the streamers’ best picture chances as Ron Howard’s “Thirteen Lives,” Antoine Fuqua’s “Emancipation” and Rian Johnson’s “Glass Onion” all have pockets of support within the industry.

The streaming shutout wasn’t the case on the television side, where HBO/HBO Max nabbed three of the 10 spots for “Hacks,” “The White Lotus” and a heartwarming surprise entry for “Somebody Somewhere.” Apple TV+ picked up two spots with “Pachinko” and “Severance,” while Netflix notched another big mention for “Mo” following its win at the Gotham Awards.

FX nabbed two spots with their hit freshman series “The Bear” and the second season of the beloved “Reservation Dogs.” Other mentions include ABC’s Emmy-winning “Abbott Elementary” and the final season of AMC’s “Better Call Saul.”

The American Film Institute (AFI) has announced the top films and television series of 2022 that are deemed culturally and artistically representative of this year’s most significant achievements.

AFI Movies of the Year

  • “Avatar: The Way of Water” (20th Century Studios)
  • “Elvis” (Warner Bros.)
  • “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24)
  • “The Fabelmans” (Universal Pictures)
  • “Nope” (Universal Pictures)
  • “She Said” (Universal Pictures)
  • “Tár” (Focus Features)
  • “Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount Pictures)
  • “The Woman King” (Sony Pictures)
  • “Women Talking” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)

AFI Television Programs of the Year

  • “Abbott Elementary” (ABC)
  • “The Bear” (FX)
  • “Better Call Saul” (AMC)
  • “Hacks” (HBO Max)
  • “Mo” (Netflix)
  • “Pachinko” (Apple TV+)
  • “Reservation Dogs” (FX)
  • “Severance” (Apple TV+)
  • “Somebody Somewhere” (HBO)
  • “The White Lotus” (HBO)

AFI Special Award

  • “The Banshees of Inisherin” (Searchlight Pictures)

“AFI Awards shines a light upon excellence in storytelling and the collaborators who bring these stories to the screen,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO.

There are two juries — one for film and one for television — featuring acclaimed artists, critics and industry veterans such as W. Kamau Bell, Colman Domingo, Siân Heder, Brad Ingelsby, Marti Noxon and Mario Van Peebles

To see the current rankings for each individual category, visit Variety’s Oscars Hub. The first set of SAG Awards predictions for film has also been revealed.