There Will Be Blood Wins the Decade

In its day, Paul Thomas Anderson's oil-drilling epic had to take a back seat to the Coen Brother's nihilist No Country For Old Men. But a few years later, this Blood will not be washed out.

The web has come alive with Best Film of the Decade lists. Unlike Best of the Year lists, where the same dozen or so films appear again and again, Best of the Decades are where a list-making critic can really take wings and fly, revealing their inner soul through their choices. Are you a Lost in Translation type or a Memento -ite? The choice says everything, and nothing, about the list makers.

So what we've done is added up all the Best lists we could find online — from the New Yorker to spitefulcritic.com; anywhere where people had made a list. We gave each film a point for every inclusion on every top ten list. Some lists made it a bit difficult, doing say an unordered top 15's, but we've included as much as we can to try and get an accurate count.

Also in the case of multi-film series, such as Lord of the Rings or the Bourne films, some critics placed the entire series on the list, some cast their votes for the individual films.

And when the votes were all in, by a nose, There Will Be Blood stood alone at the top of the decade, its straw in the whole damn cinema's milkshake.

Some other interesting findings:

  • Really this has to be considered a huge moral victory for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Barely noticed by Oscar, relatively little discussed so many years later, the Gondry/Charlie Kaufman film came just one vote away from taking the entire decade.
  • When one looks at how spread out the voting is, one can't help but see how few consensus masterpieces there were in this decade. A mere 11 films get more than 5 votes.
  • Perhaps the most discussed filmmaker of the decade, Michael Moore, barely registers, getting just two votes for Farenheit 9/11 and one for Bowling for Columbine.
  • Many of the decades other high profile auteurs also barely crack the list: No Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino gets higher than the four vote level. Judd Apatow and Alexander Payne fail to rise above three votes. Clint Eastwood and David Cronenberg above two. Steven Speilberg bizarrely scores a high ranking in the voting only because of Catch Me If You Can, which inexplicably received six votes for a highly forgettable film. Other than that, no Speilberg film received more than a single vote.
  • The highest grossing series of the decade, the Harry Potter films, gets body-slammed by the listmakers with just one vote.
  • If the Pixar movies had been one series, it would have won the decade. Easily.
  • Foreign films predictably are largely ignored by the listmakers. Brazil's City of God is the highest ranking with six votes.
  • This was a rough decade for comedy, with very few films seemingly entering the canon. The highest ranking and thereby best comedies of the decade are 40 Year Old Virgin and Anchorman, each of which scored three votes.

Overall certainly no one could say that masterpieces were pouring out of every crevice during the zeroes. But looking at the list overall, one can feel mildly content that there were in fact a pretty large number of pretty decent films over the last ten years. We can close the door on a decade of tumult saying in the cinema front at least, if not in the peace and economic stability front, the 00's can go home feeling content about a job well done.

Below is the tally of votes, in order of their place of finish:

12 Votes
There Will Be Blood

11 Votes
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Lord of the Rings films,

10 Votes
No Country For Old Men

8 Votes
Memento

7 Votes
Brokeback Mountain, The Dark Knight,

6 Votes
Almost Famous, Catch Me If You Can, Pan's Labyrinth, Wall-E

5 Votes
City of God, The Departed, The Incredibles

4 Votes
Cache, Gladiator, Kill Bill,The Lives of Others, Lost in Translation, Royal Tennenbaums

3 Votes
The 40 Year Old Virgin, Amelie, Anchorman, The Bourne Series, Finding Nemo, Mullholland Drive, Sideways, Slumdog Millionaire, The White Ribbon, You Can Count on Me

2 Votes
25th Hour, Adaptation, Amores Perros, Borat , Capturing the Friedmans
Casino Royale, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Fahernheit 9/11, Far From Heaven, A History of Violence, Inglorious Basterds, Mystic River, The New World, O Brother Where Art Thou, The Son, Spirited Away, Team America, Together, Werckmeister Harmonies, What Time is it there?, The Wrestler

1 Vote
2046,300, AI, American Splendor,The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford ,The Baader Meinhoff Complex, Bad Education, Battle in Heaven, The Beat that My Heart Skipped, Before Sunset, Best of Youth, Beau Travail, Bloody Sunday, Bowling for Columbine, La Commune, Crash ,Dead Man's Shoes, The Descent, Divine Intervention, Donnie Darko, Downfall, The Fog of War, The Fountain, Four Months, Three Weeks and Two Days, Funny People, Grizzly Man, The Harry Potter series, Hunger, Hustle and Flow, Inland Empire, Into the Wild, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Knocked Up, Last King of Scotland, Let the Right One In, Letters From Iwo Jima, The Life Aquatic, Little Miss Sunshine, Master and Commander, Metallica, Some Kind of Monster, Million Dollar Baby, Millions, Monster, Monsters Ball, Moulin Rouge, Ocean's Eleven, The Passion of the Christ,The Pianist,Ratatouille, Red Road, Requiem for a Dream, Superbad, Talk to Her, Time of the Wolf, Transformers, Traffic, United 93, The Queen, Wet Hot American Summer, Y Tu Mama Tambien ,Zatoichi, Zodiac

The Source Lists:
Drew Mcgary, NBC Bay Area, Paste Magazine, The Times of London, The Onion AV Club, Popdose, Hollywood Reporter, Houstonian, Entertainment Weekly, Total Film Editor in Chief, Total Film Readers, L Magazine, Jonathan Fuhrman: Mediaite, Global Comment, Rolling Stone, IDS News, Zero For Conduct, TV Guide, True Slant, IMDB top rated, Stylus Magazine, The Telegraph, Orlando Sentinel, Moviefone, David Denby: The New Yorker, Reel Loop, richardrushfield.com, Spiteful Critic,