A note on the poll’s workings: over 100 North American colleagues ranked their favorites in two categories: 1) those that received theatrical runs and 2) those viewed this year but currently with no announced plans for U.S. theatrical distribution. For each ballot, a first-place choice was allotted 20 points, 19 for second, and so on.

Readers’ Poll: Readers are invited to stand up and be counted too! All entries will be automatically entered in our contest for free DVDs from the Criterion Collection. We will publish the poll results, and your comments may be excerpted on the website. Send your ranked list of the year’s 20 best films—plus any rants, raves, and insights—with your name, address, and phone number, to fcpoll [at] filmlinc.com. Deadline: February 5, 2016. First Prize: your choice of Criterion Collection DVDs, up to $200 in value. Second Prize: up to $120. Third & Fourth Prizes: up to $80. The winners, who will be picked by random draw, can select prizes, subject to availability, from the Criterion Collection catalog.

Carol Best of 2015

1. Carol
Todd Haynes, U.S.

The Assassin best of 2015

2. The Assassin
Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan

Mad Max: Fury Road best of 2015

3. Mad Max: Fury Road
George Miller, U.S.

The Clouds of Sils Maria

4. Clouds of Sils Maria
Olivier Assayas, France

Arabian Nights best of 2015

5. Arabian Nights
Miguel Gomes, Portugal

TIMBUKTU best of 2015

6. Timbuktu
Abderrahmane Sissako, Mauritania/France

rachel mcadams mark ruffalo brian dgarcy michael keaton and john slattery spotlight

7. Spotlight
Tom McCarthy, U.S.


8. Phoenix
Christian Petzold, Germany

Inside Out best of 2015

9. Inside Out
Pete Docter & Ronnie del Carmen, U.S.

The Look of Silence best of 2015

10. The Look of Silence
Joshua Oppenheimer, Denmark/Indonesia

Hard to be a God

11. Hard to Be a God
Aleksei German, Russia



12. Anomalisa
Charlie Kaufman &
Duke Johnson, U.S.

In Jackson Heights

13. In Jackson Heights
Frederick Wiseman, U.S.

Son of Saul

14. Son of Saul
László Nemes, Hungary

Horse Money

15. Horse Money
Pedro Costa, Portugal


16. Jauja
Lisandro Alonso, Argentina


17. Tangerine
Sean Baker, U.S.


18. Brooklyn
John Crowley, U.K.

Diary of a Teenage Girl

19. The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Marielle Heller, U.S.

Bridge of Spies

20. Bridge of Spies
Steven Spielberg, U.S.

Heaven Knows What

21. Heaven Knows

Josh & Benny
Safdie, U.S.


It Follows

22. It Follows
David Robert
Mitchell, U.S.

45 Years

23. 45 Years
Andrew Haigh, U.K.

Heart of a Dog

24. Heart of a Dog
Laurie Anderson, U.S.


25. A Pigeon Sat
on a Branch
Reflecting on Existence

Roy Andersson, Sweden


26. Experimenter
Michael Almereyda, U.S.

About Elly

27. About Elly
Asghar Farhadi, Iran


28. Creed
Ryan Coogler, U.S.

Love & Mercy

29. Love & Mercy
Bill Pohlad, U.S.


30. Taxi
Jafar Panahi, Iran


31. Amy
Asif Kapadia, U.K.

Li'l Quinquin

32. Li’l Quinquin
Bruno Dumont, France

The Forbidden Room

33. The Forbidden Room
Guy Maddin & Evan Johnson, Canada

Ex Machina

34. Ex Machina
Alex Garland, U.K.


35. Room
Lenny Abrahamson, Canada/Ireland

Out 1

36. Out 1: Noli me tangere
Jacques Rivette, France

The Duke of Burgundy

37. The Duke of Burgundy
Peter Strickland, U.K.

Magic Mike XXL

38. Magic Mike XXL
Gregory Jacobs, U.S.

Saint Laurent

39. Saint Laurent
Bertrand Bonello, France

The Big Short

40. The Big Short
Adam McKay, U.S.


41. Chi-Raq
Spike Lee, U.S.

Mistress America

42. Mistress America
Noah Baumbach, U.S.

The Wonders

43. The Wonders
Alice Rohrwacher, Italy

The Martian

44. The Martian
Ridley Scott, U.S.

The Kindergarten Teacher

45. The Kindergarten Teacher
Nadav Lapid, Israel

La Sapienza

46. La Sapienza
Eugène Green, France/Italy


47. Sicario
Denis Villeneuve, U.S.

Amour Fou

48. Amour fou
Jessica Hausner, Austria

White God

49. White God
Kornél Mundruczó, Hungary

Maps to the Stars

50. Maps to the Stars
David Cronenberg, Canada

Don’t see your favorites? Proceed to the Best Undistributed list.