In 2002, while living in the dorms of The University of Tennessee, David Blaylock (who wrote on "cinema-scene" as David Perry, because his parents asked him to come up with a pseudonym for writing on the internet; I recall that Perry was chosen because of Matthew Perry of "Friends") introduced me to Ed Gonzalez and Slant Magazine. Slant was a different type of film criticism than what I had read growing up or written myself; it was intensely auteurist. Gonzalez also revealed himself to be a list-whore and made public his top 10s of each film year from 1910 to present. So it was then that I started this project, of essentially doing the same.
But in obsessing over my lists, I also wanted to highlight elements that make films great -- cinematography, music, performances and common themes in the year of release, etc -- instead of just listing the directors who made them (although, I too, am an auteurist). And because Fritz Lang was my favorite early director I decided to name my superlatives after him as the Fritz Goldens.
I used a little bit of film history to create a few extra categories. For instance, a Best Ensemble Cast and Best First Feature Film Award were created for 1942 onward, spurred on by the game-changing debut from Orson Welles, Citizen Kane. Additionally, my lists went from Top 5 to top 10 from 1940 onward because 1939 was perhaps the greatest early achievement in film from Hollywood, signifying that dozens of fantastic films would be released each year from 1940 onward from many countries.
For the most part I tried to get the dates with films for when they premiered in the US and won awards in the US from critics (as a critic myself I slot the film when it had a theatrical release, even if I saw it at a film festival the prior year). HOWEVER, the 70s were a bit of a mess—for instance Werner Herzog's Aguirre, the Wrath of God did not screen in the US until 1977, five years after its premiere in West Germany; A Day and a Night in the Forest took 13 years until it screened in the US—and since many countries were emerging as a film industry in that decade, I decided to slot when they were actually completed since there wasn't a year from festival to US release like most films I've seen during my years of criticism. Otherwise, the other decades are aligned with a Stateside release.