The American Film Institute has announced its picks for the ten best films of 2007, and once again it favors Judd Apatow over Joe Wright. Back in 2005, the organization named The 40-Year-Old Virgin as one of the best films of that year, while ignoring Wright's Pride & Prejudice. This time, the AFI has included Knocked Up and left out Atonement, despite the latter's huge presence in the Golden Globe nominations and very probable huge presence in the Oscar race. So, what's going on? Does the AFI really have something against Wright and his very Anglocentric filmmaking? Well, kind of, but only because the organization concentrates on American films (it is, after all, the American Film Institute). To be eligible for the year-end honors, a movie has to have "significant creative and/or production elements from the United States." The movie can even be in a foreign language (non-English, that is) if it is "incontrovertibly American."

Tom O'Neil at the Gold Derby blog still sees some controversy, though. He points out that The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which the AFI included this year, was primarily an American production (from Kennedy/Marshall Co. and American director Julian Schnabel) yet had seven foreign partners, while Atonment (directed by a Brit) was also produced by an American company (Relativity Media) and had two foreign partners. I'd add that The Diving Bell is no more "incontrovertibly American" in its subject matter than Atonement -- or even Ratatouille for that matter. While I'm not arguing that Atonement deserved to make the list, I'd assume American Gangster would deserve it more than The Diving Bell, regardless of how much better the latter film may be. At least comedy fans should be happy with the inclusion of Knocked Up, which has so far been left out of most awards season honors.

The complete list is as follows: Knocked Up; Juno; Before the Devil Knows You're Dead; No Country for Old Men; There Will Be Blood; Into the Wild; Ratatouille; The Savages; Michael Clayton; The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.