The results of the first 2006 INDIEWIRE Critics Poll (essentially a continuation of the longstanding Village Voice critics poll, which was disabled by New Media’s firing of film editor Dennis Lin, critic Michael Atkinson and others in early October) have been published. As usual, it’s a thorough tally of what the ultra-studious, vaguely film-nerdish smartypants set feels was the year’s best, and anyone who calls him/herself a serious film fan needs to mull it over.

To say this group has supremely refined taste buds is putting it mildly. Their Best Documentary list alone shows this without a doubt — I mean this sincerely. Every film listed in this category is a winner, from James Longley‘s Iraq in Fragments to Eugene Jarecki‘s Why We Fight. Copy it, print it out, paste it to your refrigerator door.
The Best Film honor went to Cristi Puiu‘s The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, and the next nine preferences were as follows: L’Enfant, The Departed, Inland Empire, Army of Shadows, Three Times, Old Joy, United 93, Children of Men and Half Nelson.
In the Best Performance category (they don’t separate the sexes), I’d thoroughly expected Half Nelson‘s Ryan Gosling to win — any Gosling performance is catnip to these guys — but The Queen‘s Helen Mirren beat him out by 46 points. (Is there any critics group anywhere in the world that hasn’t decided that Mirren gave the year’s best performance? This is monotonous.)
The Departed‘s Mark Wahlberg won their Best Supporting Performance award! Well deserved.
The Departed‘s Martin Scorsese received the most votes (or points) for Best Director, followed by Inland Empire‘s David Lynch, Lazerescu‘s Christi Puiu, Children of Men‘s Alfonso Cuaron and L’Enfant‘s Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne.
Voting on the indieWIRE Critics Poll was conducted online during the first half of December. As Lin noted in an email to critics just after Thanksgiving, a national survey of this scope and scale, by calling attention to the year’s best — and, in many cases, most overlooked — films, provides a meaningful counterpoint to much of the year-end hoopla.