Metacritic Users Pick the Best of 2012

  • Publish Date: January 8, 2013
  • Comments: ↓ 13 user comments

The results of our third annual user poll are in ...

For the third straight year, we asked our users to rank their favorite movies, games, TV shows, albums, and songs of the past 12 months. We received over 2,000 responses (a record), and the results are listed below.

Note that participants listed their five favorite titles of 2012 in each category, and we assigned a value of 5 points to each first-place vote, 4 points for second place, and so on down to 1 point for each fifth-place vote. Once again, we also asked users to name the single most "overrated" release of the year in each category, and those "winners"—determined solely by the number of votes received, rather than points—are also listed below in each section.


Christopher Nolan's third and final Batman film The Dark Knight Rises may not be a best picture contender at this year's Oscars, but it was easily the best film of 2012 with Metacritic users, scoring over 1,300 points higher than the next leading title. Just about half of all participants in our poll this year had TDKR ranked somewhere among their top five movies of the year. (Of course, if you scroll down to our list of most overrated movies, you'll see that some users held a slightly different view of the film.)

Comparing our users' favorites, below, with the year-end rankings from professional film critics reveals several similarities. Five films—Argo, Django Unchained, Lincoln, The Master, and Moonrise Kingdom—appeared in the top ten of the cumulative standings for both groups. The two films that stand out among our users' picks below are The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Prometheus, neither of which appeared on any of the 130+ critic top 10 lists that we tracked.

Best Movie of 2012 as Voted by Metacritic Users
Movie Points  
1 78 The Dark Knight Rises 3,196 bar
2 84 Moonrise Kingdom 1,839 bar
3 81 Skyfall 1,751 bar
4 86 Argo 1,720 bar
5 84 Looper 1,634 bar
6 69 The Avengers 1,575 bar
7 86 The Master 1,335 bar
8 86 Lincoln 1,224 bar
9 80 Django Unchained 1,151 bar
10 58 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 1,030 bar
11 95 Zero Dark Thirty 887 bar
12 81 Silver Linings Playbook 781 bar
13 86 Beasts of The Southern Wild 777 bar
14 79 Life of Pi 677 bar
15 72 The Cabin in the Woods 529 bar
16 84 Holy Motors 478 bar
17 92 Amour 431 bar
18 67 The Perks of Being a Wallflower 380 bar
  65 Prometheus 380 bar
20 55 Cloud Atlas 366 bar
Most Overrated Movie of 2012 as Voted by Metacritic Users
Movie Mentions  
1 69 The Avengers 216 bar
2 78 The Dark Knight Rises 154 bar
3 58 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 71 bar
4 52 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 65 bar
5 67 The Hunger Games 59 bar


Last week, we crowned Telltale's The Walking Dead as our official game of the year thanks to its 2012-best Metascore of 95 (for the Xbox version), and now Metacritic users have also selected it as their favorite title of the year, narrowly edging out the third game in the Mass Effect trilogy and late-2012 arrival Far Cry 3. As a whole, our users seemed to like many of the same games that critics did, with most of the year's 90+ titles appearing near the top of our users' cumulative rankings. And, much like in last year's poll, the latest Call of Duty installment led the pack of most overrated games.

Best Video Game of 2012 as Voted by Metacritic Users
Game Platforms Points  
1 The Walking Dead 360 95 / PC 91 / PS3 1,262 bar
2 Mass Effect 3 360 93 / PS3 93 / PC 89 / WiiU 86 1,141 bar
3 Far Cry 3 360 90 / PS3 90 / PC 88 1,102 bar
4 Dishonored PC 91 / PS3 89 / 360 88 996 bar
5 Borderlands 2 PS3 91 / 360 89 / PC 89 868 bar
6 Halo 4 360 87 779 bar
7 Journey PS3 92 763 bar
8 Assassin's Creed III PS3 86 / WiiU 85 / 360 84 / PC 79 670 bar
9 Call of Duty: Black Ops II 360 83 / PS3 83 / WiiU 82 / PC 74 356 bar
10 Max Payne 3 PS3 87 / PC 87 / 360 86 354 bar
11 XCOM: Enemy Unknown 360 90 / PS3 89 / PC 89 296 bar
12 FIFA Soccer 13 360 90 / PS3 88 / PC 86 / WiiU 70 238 bar
13 Hitman: Absolution PS3 83 / PC 80 / 360 79 185 bar
14 Guild Wars 2 PC 90 184 bar
15 Sleeping Dogs PS3 83 / 360 80 / PC 80 140 bar
16 Xenoblade Chronicles Wii 92 133 bar
17 Hotline Miami PC 85 127 bar
18 NBA 2K13 PS3 90 / 360 88 / WiiU 85 / PC 119 bar
19 Spec Ops: The Line PS3 77 / 360 76 / PC 76 109 bar
20 Persona 4 Golden PS Vita 94 107 bar
Most Overrated Game of 2012 as Voted by Metacritic Users
Game Mentions  
1 Call of Duty: Black Ops II 236 bar
2 Halo 4 86 bar
3 Mass Effect 3 65 bar
4 The Walking Dead 49 bar
5 Assassin's Creed III 42 bar

TV shows

While last year's voting in the TV category could not have been closer—Breaking Bad lost out to Community by a mere two points—this year's first-place winner blew away the competition. Not only did Breaking Bad receive over twice as many points as its nearest competitor (Showtime's Homeland), the AMC drama was named on over 63% of all ballots cast. Overall, among the top 10 shows listed in the cumulative standings below, only two (Mad Men and Sherlock, neither of which aired in 2011) did not appear on last year's list. This year's highest-ranked first-year series was HBO's Girls, which placed 13th overall.

Metacritic users and TV critics enjoy many of the same shows. The standings below are remarkably similar to the critics' picks for the best shows of 2012, though Metacritic users seem to like Dexter (and CBS comedies The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother) much more than the professionals do, while the critics placed Girls much higher in their rankings.

Best Television Show of 2012 as Voted by Metacritic Users
Show Points  
1 Breaking Bad (AMC) 4,388 bar
2 Homeland (Showtime) 2,031 bar
3 Game of Thrones (HBO) 1,971 bar
4 The Walking Dead (AMC) 1,855 bar
5 Community (NBC) 1,599 bar
6 Mad Men (AMC) 1,431 bar
7 Parks and Recreation (NBC) 1,041 bar
8 Louie (FX) 883 bar
9 Dexter (Showtime) 719 bar
10 Sherlock (PBS) 580 bar
11 Boardwalk Empire (HBO) 505 bar
12 Modern Family (ABC) 468 bar
13 Girls (HBO) 439 bar
14 Justified (FX) 362 bar
15 The Big Bang Theory (CBS) 341 bar
16 30 Rock (NBC) 302 bar
17 American Horror Story (FX) 281 bar
18 How I Met Your Mother (CBS) 271 bar
19 New Girl (Fox) 253 bar
20 Downton Abbey (PBS) 230 bar
Most Overrated TV Show of 2012 as Voted by Metacritic Users
Show Mentions  
1 Homeland (Showtime) 173 bar
2 The Walking Dead (AMC) 99 bar
3 The Big Bang Theory (CBS) 85 bar
4 Girls (HBO) 56 bar
5 Modern Family (ABC) 54 bar


After dominating music critic year-end polls and receiving the highest Metascore for any album released in 2012, Frank Ocean's Channel Orange easily won over Metacritic users as well to complete the trifecta. Our users' top four overall picks were actually identical to the critics' selections this year, and it is not until the users' #10 pick—Babel by Mumford & Sons—that we find an album that doesn't place among the critics' top 30 selections.

Best Album of 2012 as Voted by Metacritic Users
Album/Artist Listen Points  
1 92 Channel Orange
by Frank Ocean
Spotify 1,590 bar
2 91 good kid, m.A.A.d. city
by Kendrick Lamar
Spotify 989 bar
3 89 The Idler Wheel...
by Fiona Apple
Spotify 687 bar
4 88 Lonerism
by Tame Impala
Spotify 624 bar
5 86 Shields
by Grizzly Bear
Spotify 469 bar
6 78 Bloom
by Beach House
Spotify 401 bar
7 83 Blunderbuss
by Jack White
Spotify 396 bar
8 83 Celebration Rock
by Japandroids
Spotify 359 bar
9 80 Visions
by Grimes
Spotify 310 bar
10 63 Babel
by Mumford & Sons
Spotify 246 bar
11 64 Battle Born
by The Killers
Spotify 232 bar
12 61 Born to Die
by Lana Del Rey
Spotify 221 bar
13 83 Attack on Memory
by Cloud Nothings
Spotify 191 bar
14 70 An Awesome Wave
by Alt-J
Spotify 182 bar
15 77 Red
by Taylor Swift
  169 bar
16 81 The Money Store
by Death Grips
Spotify 165 bar
17 80 Swing Lo Magellan
by Dirty Projectors
Spotify 153 bar
18 85 Devotion
by Jessie Ware
  152 bar
19 87 The Seer
by Swans
Spotify 141 bar
20 80 Kill for Love
by Chromatics
Spotify 139 bar
Most Overrated Album of 2012 as Voted by Metacritic Users
Album/Artist Mentions  
1 92 Channel Orange by Frank Ocean 155 bar
2 77 Red by Taylor Swift 70 bar
3 91 good kid, m.A.A.d. city by Kendrick Lamar 49 bar
4 63 Babel by Mumford & Sons 36 bar
5 68 Believe by Justin Bieber 35 bar

Frank Ocean didn't just dominate the album voting; he also accounted for three of our users' top five songs of the year. Also placing in the top 10 is PSY's international hit "Gangnam Style." We think there might be a video for that one on YouTube.

Best Song of 2012 as Voted by Metacritic Users
Song/Artist Listen Watch Points  
1 "Pyramids" by Frank Ocean
from the album Channel Ocean
Spotify YouTube 572 bar
2 "Thinkin Bout You" by Frank Ocean
from the album Channel Ocean
Spotify YouTube 249 bar
3 "The House that Heaven Built" by Japandroids
from the album Celebration Rock
Spotify YouTube 201 bar
4 "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye feat. Kimbra
from the album Making Mirrors
Spotify YouTube 186 bar
5 "Bad Religion" by Frank Ocean
from the album Channel Ocean
Spotify   178 bar
6 "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen
from the album Kiss
Spotify YouTube 169 bar
7 "Gangnam Style" by PSY
from the album PSY 6 (Six Rules), Part 1
Spotify YouTube 168 bar
8 "Skyfall" by Adele
from the single "Skyfall"
YouTube 161 bar
9 "Yet Again" by Grizzly Bear
from the album Shields
Spotify YouTube 151 bar
10 "Some Nights" by Fun.
from the album Some Nights
Spotify YouTube 147 bar

How did you do?

What do you think of the consensus picks of your fellow users? Let us know in the comments section below, and don't forget to visit our Best of 2012 section for all of our year-end coverage.

Comments (13)

  • lucascgc  

    Dark Knight Rises? Really? There was people campaign for it or something?

  • vonschiller  

    I think the films list says a lot more about metacritic users than the quality of film this year.

  • Alienware  

    Breaking Bad dominating everything this year.

  • ImUnavailable  

    With movies like The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers, more people will have seen them so more people will have voted for them. Less people would have seen Lincoln, Argo, Looper, Zero Dark Thirty etc.

  • StreetSpirit16  

    There was nothing new or special about Dark Knight Rises, it wasn't even half as good as The Dark Knight. That and the Avengers are both ridiculously overrated. Also, even though I'm a huge James Bond fan, I think Skyfall is really overrated too. It was a good movie don't get me wrong, but it wasn't amazing. My picks:

    1. Silver Linings Playbook
    2. Argo
    3. Moonrise Kingdom
    4. The Master
    5. Looper

  • m_elders  

    The movies category is really dependent on which movies people have seen. Moonrise Kingdom is one of the only critically acclaimed movies of the year to be out on DVD, and look. TDKR was terrible as part of the trilogy, but people have seen it, so it made it there. And Zero Dark Thirty is only in theaters in a few cities. It had no chance.

    Spec Ops: The Line should get more respect in the video games category. Seriously, it got beat by FIFA 13. That's ridiculous. It was my game of the year easily (and I've played a lot of the big titles). In fact, it's my game of the ever.

  • pkindieboy  

    Agreed, Dark Knight Rises was a mess, just like it's predecessor. For action, I liked The Bourne Legacy.

  • JRath  

    Laughing at the people below me. Dark Knight Rises was fantastic, and Avengers was amazing. I saw a ton of movies last year in order to do reviews for my review site, and I let my users vote and their top 3 were Skyfall, Avengers, Dark Knight Rises...same as my top 3. So many artsy movies this year got way better ratings and attention than they deserved. The people speak and the people are often right. 10 years from now, I'll remember The Dark Knight Rises and Avengers...I sure as hell won't remember The Master.

  • TheQuietGamer  

    The Walking Dead and Mass Effect 3 at the top of the video game list where they belong. Easily my two favorite games of the year.

  • Sir_Brandon  

    Here are my top 5 filmsof 2012. Some films including Zero Dark Thirty and The Impossible didn't reach my side of town (Nashville) until this year so they will be saved for my 2013 list....

    My Top 5 Films of 2012 5) Lawless

    4) The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    3) Skyfall

    2) Headhunters The Best Film of 2012 is….


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