If you walk over and look them in the eye and ask them to please cut the crap, the AFI Sight & Sound gang will admit the truth.
They know that Martin Scorsese‘s Killers of the Flower Moon is not one of his top-tier films. They know it’s basically a woke movie, a guilt-trip thing. They know that it has no character viewpoint other that “century-old Oklahoma white guys bad.” They know that Scorsese and Eric Roth decided to more or less abandon FBI agent Tom White, the central figure in David Grann’s 2017 book, in favor of Leonardo DiCaprio‘s dumbshit Ernest Burkhart, who isn’t worth the effort.
They know all that and voted Killers as the year’s top film regardless. Because they wanted to proclaim their belief and investment in the redemption narrative. It’s their way of saying “we get it Marty…you did your best under the circumstances and understandably felt that you couldn’t go with White as the champion…we get it and we support you and are on your side despite the fact that if we were voting on merit alone we wouldn’t have chosen Killers….you get that and so do we…plus we absolutely believe in the metaphor of Lily Gladstone‘s identity campaign for Best Actress…all hail our recognition of past sins and our attempt at absolution or at least forgiveness.”