The curtain is closing and 2015 is taking its final bow. It's been yet another truly spectacular year for film, smashing all sorts of records with releases such as Jurassic World and The Force Awakens. However, as 2016 begins to dawn upon us, it's that time of year again where we look back at the last 12 months and where I round-up my best films of the year.

I've seen a lot of films over the past year and when I looked back at all the 80 or so films I'd seen since January, I realised that there was a lot of great films - in abundance, in fact. Sure, there were a lot of bad ones too but my worst films of the year is for another article. I could've just slapped together a list of the most critically acclaimed films of the year and been done with it. However, what's the point in that? Going through all the releases I've seen and deciding which ones were truly the best; which ones had an impact on me; which ones were on my mind weeks - or even months - after release is what makes this so fun. Cherry-picking the fine frontrunners was a real task but it has been done and I'm rather satisfied by my choices too: my personal favourite films of 2015.

But, without further ado, let's dive into my best films of the year, starting off with some honourable mentions and films that impressed me - albeit if just not managing to quite slip into my top 10. Consider it the runner-ups.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

SOUTHPAW

Jake Gyllenhaal is as phenomenal as always in this pretty formulaic but still great, emotionally charged, cutting-edge boxing drama.

THE INTERN

This joyous, feel-good drama was sweet, adorable and left me with a smile on my face.

THE BENEFACTOR (FRANNY)

Formerly known as Franny, this was the Edinburgh Film Festival standout; Richard Gere killed it in this emotional, incredible drama.

MACBETH

The latest adaption of Shakespeare's renowned classic is the best yet; brilliant, violent and one of the best looking films of the year, for sure! Fassbender kills it as our twisted king; Cotillard dazzles as his Lady.

BIG HERO 6

Superheroes and animation unite for this warm, energetic and fun new Disney flick. Baymax is love, Baymax is life.
STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON

The N.W.A biopic was raw, powerful and inspiring and a great underdog story about one of rap's most revolutionary bands (gangs???)

JOHN WICK

"Everyone keeps asking me if I'm back? Well, yeah, I'm starting to think I am," says Keanu Reeves in John Wick. Indeed you are, sir. Indeed you are.

SLOW WEST

John MacLean's Western - his directorial debut too - is eccentric and stylish and beautiful and so damn entertaining. Fassbender slays again.

KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE

The surprise of the year, Kingsman took the world by storm. This utterly relentless and massively tribute to spy films was an absolutely insane blast.

IT FOLLOWS

Smart, stylish and scary. This unique horror is a nice throwback to the good old days of the genre, whilst still being a great modern horror classic.
So, that's the honourable mentions - eclipsed by my main choices. It's now time to move on to my top 10. It's a subjective list and all based on my own opinions but I have my reasons for each and every film, which we shall discuss below.

TOP 10:

10. ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL
Coming-of-age films were in abundance this year, from Paper Towns to Diary of a Teenage Girl to Dope, but the standout was by far Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. This film was a love-letter to cinema but it was elegant, unconventional, emotional and beautiful. The unexpected story of friendship between a shy, reclusive film-lover and a bold, outgoing girl with leukaemia is inspiring and poignant and so real and raw. What makes this film so special is it's so real and authentic and so layered and nuanced yet so simple too. It's an unconventional teen-flick but is relatable and enjoyable for all and it's just so magnificent.

Read my full review here.

9. BIRDMAN
Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman challenged 21st Century filmmaking and was the silver lining in all of this year's releases. The film was at the centre of the Awards season and took home multiple Oscars, Globes, BAFTA's etc. and it's clear why - this was a masterful feat of filmmaking. Everything about this film was stunning, from the acting to the premise to the direction and the one-shot, one-take nature of the whole film. It's a dazzling piece of cinema and one that has cemented itself in cinematic history.

Read my full review here.

8. STEVE JOBS
The underrated underdog of 2015. Steve Jobs faced some serious delays and production problems and was unfortunately received, in return, by a weak box-office reception. However, the film was a true gem. Aaron Sorkin and Danny Boyle have made a thought-provoking, compelling and massively intriguing film with some stellar performances and yet another brilliant performance for Michael Fassbender to add to his list - he has been on fire this year. The film was one of my most anticipated of the year and it delivered in the masses. If you've not seen this film, I cannot recommend it enough. Show it some love!

Read my full review here.

7. THE MARTIAN
Ridley Scott's latest sci-fi, space extravaganza is easily one of the best, most fun cinematic experiences of the year. With one character stranded on Mars, for 2 and a half hours, this film could have been a serious, dark and sombre film but, instead, Scott injected life into this story to make a hilarious, joyous and massively fun space opera with a killer Matt Damon bringing tons of energy and charisma to the character - whilst still keeping him grounded and real.

Read my full review here.

6. SICARIO
After Prisoners and Enemy, Denis Villeneuve rocketed to one of my favourite directors in the business. As a result, his latest film, Sicario, was one of my most anticipated of the Fall and it delivered. This is one of the most tense and thrilling thrillers of the year, chilling me to my core. It was dark and gritty and everything I wanted from this film. Villeneuve killed it yet again. Sicario is dark, brutal, unsettlingly tense and one of the best films of the year.

Read my full review here.

5. INSIDE OUT
Pixar have been at the core of my childhood. Films like Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles have inspired me growing up and pretty much everything the studio release is gold - with a few exceptions - and Inside Out was a return to form for the animation giants, after a number of sour films. It's one of their most ingenious, audacious and daring films to date. The film was funny, sweet and heart-wrenchingly emotional. It's everything you want a Pixar film to be and lands a deserved place amongst the studios' renowned classics and a nostalgic return to my childhood, when the studio was at its best.

Read my full review here.

4. EX MACHINA
Alex Garland has written some incredible screenplays throughout his career, with the likes of 28 Days Later and Sunshine. All I genuinely knew about Ex Machina when I went in to see it was that it was Garland's directorial debut. Walking out of the cinema, I had been blown away by one of the best sci-fi films of this decade. It was stylish, smart, thrilling and just so damn entertaining. Swamped by unnecessary reboots and sequels and spin-offs, it's a rarity for this industry to deliver such ingenious and audacious films nowadays but Ex Machina is the silver lining - one of the most daring and challenging and compelling films of the 21st Century; also demonstrating that the sci-fi genre is much more than just big spectacle. I've never been so stunned and dazzled and speechless walking out the cinema before, as I was after seeing this.

Read my full review here.

3. STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
The Star Wars franchise is one of my favourite cinematic franchises ever, at the pinnacle of my childhood and the reason behind my love for film today. So, for that reason, I couldn't wait to be launched back into this world with The Force Awakens and was greatly anticipating this film and it delivered. It managed to re-capture everything great about the original trilogy whilst standing alone on its own merits to deliver one of the most entertaining, most satisfying experiences of the year. I've never had so much building up to the film and it was worth it because I had an absolute blast watching it too. As a film, it's great but because of all the nostalgia attached, it resonates with me more personally.

Read my full review here.

2. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
Who ever thought that a 3 decade old franchise and a 70 year old director could make such a furious, relentless action epic. The return of Mad Max, this Summer, was a triumph, delivering one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year but also one of the best action films of the decade - without a shadow of doubt. Films like Star Wars or The Martian are all good experiences but Fury Road was a real visceral event! From the off-set, this is a non-stop thrill ride and an action masterpiece and just so damn entertaining! It's an instant action classic. Not only is it a phenomenal action film though, it's just generally a phenomenal film and easily one of the best films of the year! George Miller, we salute you. You've still got it. Thank you dear sir.

Read my full review here.

1. WHIPLASH
What can top Mad Max, you ask? Which one film can surpass all the films on my list? The answer: Whiplash. After all the buzz it received when it released at the end of 2014 in the U.S, it quickly became a film I was hugely anticipating and, when it released here in January, it was a stunner. I have seen the film countless times since its initial release and I still love it to pieces each and every time I watch it. Who ever thought that a film about jazz could be so entertaining but, more surprising, so thrilling and so tense! The film is compelling and captivating from the word go and doesn't let up for even a second. The characters and performances are astonishingly good too (J.K Simmons' Terence Fletcher is one of my favourite assholes put to screen) and the finale is killer; a mix of incredible tension and stunning music for possibly the best third act to any film in 2015. Who knew drumming was so exhilarating!

Read my full review here.

So, that's my list folks. It has been another great year for film and I've loved getting to see these films. Thank you guys for all the support towards the site over the past 12 months; I wouldn't have been able to see and review so many films without you guys. 2016 is looking big and I can't wait to keep bringing you guys content. Here's to another triumphant 12 months ahead of us.

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About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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