“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” among AFI’s best films of 2015 | Stripe

Star Wars: The Force Awakens racked up its first award on Wednesday when the American Film Institute named it as one of the 10 best films of the year.

The Force Awakens, opening in theaters across the world this week, was included in a list alongside awards front-runners such as Wall Street misdeeds comedy The Big Short and lesbian romance drama Carol.

The American Film Institute’s top films of the year are selected by critics, scholars, TV and film artists and AFI trustees, and come on the heels of this year’s Golden Globe and Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) nominations.

While Star Wars did not receive any Globe or SAG nominations, likely due to the fact that voters would not have seen the film, which has been shrouded in secrecy, its AFI nomination makes it a potential contender for February’s Oscars ceremony.

Awards voters often shun action-packed and special effects-laden big studio fare in favor of more dramatic and grounded stories. But this year, Star Wars was named on AFI’s list alongside blockbuster action film Mad Max: Fury Road and space adventure The Martian.

Other films on the list included psychological thriller Room, Roman Catholic Church newspaper probe Spotlight, Cold War drama Bridge of Spies and Pixar’s animated extravaganza Inside Out and rap biopic Straight Outta Compton.

The AFI also selects the year’s top 10 best television programs.

AMC’s Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul, Fox’s hip-hop family saga Empire, Netflix comedy Master of None, USA Network’s cyber hacker drama Mr. Robot and Lifetime’s Unreal, a fictional take on the behind-the-scenes antics of reality show The Bachelor, were the new shows making the list.

They were named alongside ABC comedy Black-ish, HBO’s medieval fantasy Game of Thrones, Showtime’s spy thriller Homeland, FX’s second season of Fargo and Cold War spy series The Americans.

Advertising drama Mad Men, which concluded its seven-season run this year, will receive the AFI Special Award.

Composer John Williams, known for his Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Jaws soundtracks, will receive a lifetime achievement award. All the films and TV shows will be celebrated at a luncheon on Jan. 8 in Los Angeles.

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Piya Sinha-Roy is a Reuters journalist.