‘Avatar,’ ‘Apocalypse Now,’ ‘Lord of the Rings’ Top Critics Blu-Ray List

“Close Encounters,” “Planet of the Apes” and “The Wizard of Oz” also honored in Broadcast Film Critics Assn. vote

The greatest Blu-Ray discs of all time, according to the Broadcast Film Critics Assn., are "Apocalypse Now," "Avatar," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," the "Planet of the Apes" box set, "The Wizard of Oz" and the complete "Lord of the Rings" set.

AvatarThe BFCA winners — unveiled this week — come with a few caveats. Voters, who also determine the Critics Choice Movie Awards, were restricted to Blu-Rays released by seven companies that are members of the Blu-Ray Disc Assn.

That leaves out the Criterion Collection and Kino, two of the most respected companies releasing high-quality Blu-Rays, and two whose work would figure to score highly on any critics' survey.

Apocalypse NowVoters were also restricted to discs submitted by member companies. Disney, Lionsgate, Sony, 20th Century Fox, Universal and Warner Bros. each sent BFCA members the five titles they wished to be considered, while Paramount opted to send only two.

And finally, voters were asked not to choose their five favorites, but to vote for one release from each of the past five years. (2006 and 2007, the first years of the format's existence, were lumped together.)

Given all those restrictions, the BFCA voters (of which I am one) opted for these releases:

Close Encounters2006-2007: "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition
2008: "Planet of the Apes" 40-Year Evolution set
2009: "The Wizard of Oz" 70th Anniversary 3-disc Emerald Edition
2010: (tie) "Apocalypse Now" Full Disclosure Special Edition, and "Avatar" Extended Collector's Edition
2011: "The Lord of the Rings" Motion Picture Trilogy Extended Edition

Other releases that were in contention:

2006-2007: "Crank," "Kingdom of Heaven," "300"
2008: "The Dark Knight," "Hellboy II," "Mamma Mia!," "The Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy, "Sleeping Beauty," "3:10 to Yuma," "Wanted"
Lord of the Rings2009: "Fight Club," "Gandhi," "Inglourious Basterds," "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," "Up"
2010: "The African Queen," "Beauty and the Beast," "Despicable Me," "The Godfather" trilogy, "Inception"
2011: "The Bridge on the River Kwai," "Das Boot," "The Hustler," "The Last Exorcism," Taxi Driver," "Tron: Legacy"

Voters were asked to consider the quality of the film as well as the use of the Blu-Ray's capabilities in video, sound and special features.

The Wizard of Oz BFCA president Joey Berlin told members the group's leadership is considering ways to include companies like Criterion and Kino if subsequent votes are held.

Some members have also expressed support for a plan that would add a home video category to the Critics Choice Movie Awards in place of the current Best Television Movie category. TV movies are now honored by the BFCA's sister organization, the Broadcast Television Journalists Assn., which this year handed out the first Critics Choice Television Awards.