Seven or eight days ago I mentioned that World of Reel‘s Jordan Ruimy was polling critics on the five best films of 2021. My top five, submitted to Ruimy later that day, were Thomas Anders Jensen’s Riders of Justice, Jasmila Zbanić‘s Quo Vadis, Aida?, Simon Stone‘s The Dig, Phillip Noyce‘s Above Suspicion, and Jon Chu and Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s In The Heights.

I waffled later that night and deleted In The Heights in favor of Michel Franco‘s New Order.

I had a testy conversation with God that night. It was actually more of a threat than a debate. “All I can say is that Ruimy’s critics had better not vote In The Heights into the top slot,” I warned. “That wouldn’t be fair or right. It would be, in fact, hugely depressing, as it would be seen as a sympathetic bro hug from critics who’d approved of Chu and Miranda’s film only to see it dramatically underperform at the box-office and also disappoint as an HBO Max streamer.”

Yesterday Ruimy published the results of his poll, based on the preferences of more than 100 critics, and Quo Vadis, Aida? emerged as the top vote-getter. “Thank God,” I blurted out, although In The Heights polled a close second.

Ruimy: “Jasmila Žbanić’s Quo Vadis, Aida? has been named the best movie of the first six months of 2021. Although it had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival last September, the film was only released Stateside on March 5th of this year. Tackling the harrowing journey of a Bosnian UN translator torn between family and work as the Serbian army takes over her town, the film earned rave reviews and even managed to garner a Best International Feature Film Oscar nomination.

“The newly installed Oscar eligibility rules made it possible for many critics to include films such as The Father (#7) and Judas and the Black Messiah (#8) into their lists. However, one future Oscar contender that is very much a 2022 movie finished as the runner-up to this poll — John Chu’s In the Heights.”