1. Only movies which received an initial theatrical release in the year in question may be included. No made-for-TV, no straight-to-video, nothing which received a festival release before January 1.
2. I must review any movie from the year in question that I have already seen or participated in the making of.
3. I must review any movie that ranked among the top 10 highest-grossing films of that year. Unless doing so breaks rule 1.
4. I must review any movie that was nominated for an Academy Award in an above-the-line category for that year. Unless doing so breaks rule 1. “Above-the-line” includes Best Picture, Best Director, all awards for acting and writing, Best Documentary Feature, and Best Animated Feature.
Beyond that, I consult with best and worst lists of critics at the time, and from there pick whatever else I want to see.