1. Like a lot of critics, I chafe against the arbitrariness of lists even as I recognize their utility. Since I can never stop at 10 — how could I, when something like 900 movies were released in North American theaters? — I picked 15 to match the year, ranked them and ended up fudging that count. So maybe technically it’s a top 20. The slots with more than one title aren’t ties, but double features, paired movies that complement, contend with or amplify each other’s best qualities.
6. US schools are rebuilding their strength in this ranking, with their number increasing to 51. This had dropped below 50 for the first time in 2016, down to 47. Six of the eight new or returning schools are from the US.