JWM’s Best of 2020

Ahead of the upcoming Academy Awards, the culminating awards event of the movie season, I wanted to throw out my official “Best of 2020” picks for the movie year that was. I’ll stick with the adjusted release-date eligibility of the Oscars of February 28, 2021, so a few of the earlier releases of 2021 will be eligible in my rankings too.
BEST VISUALS (Cinematography, Visual Effects, Production/Costume Design, Hair/Make-up)
1. First Cow
2. Nomadland
3. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
4. The Father
5. Nadie Sabe Que Estoy Aqui [Nobody Knows I’m Here]
BEST AUDIO (Sound Editing/Mixing, Music)
1. First Cow
2. Minari
3. Sound of Metal
4. Judas and the Black Messiah
5. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Honourable Mentions: Nomadland; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Promising Young Woman
BEST SCREENPLAY
1. Eliza Hittman – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
2. Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller – The Father
3. Darius Marder, Abraham Marder – Sound of Metal
4. Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
5. Ruben Santiago-Hudson – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
6. Kelly Reichardt – First Cow
7. Chloé Zhao – Nomadland
8. James Sweeney – Straight Up
9. Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7
10. Antonio Campos, Paulo Campos – The Devil All the Time
Honourable Mentions: Eleanor Catton – Emma.; Alice Wu – The Half of It; Marinda July – Kajillionaire; Dan Scanlon, Jason Headley, Keith Bunin – Onward
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE
1. Paul Raci – Sound of Metal
2. Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah
3. Yuh-Jung Youn – Minari
4. Mark Rylance – The Trial of the Chicago 7
5. Talia Ryder – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
6. Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7
7. Olivia Colman –The Father
8. Leslie Odom Jr. – One Night in Miami…
9. Olivia Cooke – Sound of Metal
10. Gina Rodriguez – Kajillionaire
Honourable Mentions: Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods; Jason Clarke – The Devil All the Time; Elizabeth Debicki – Tenet; Dominique Fishback – Judas and the Black Messiah; Johnny Flynn – Emma.; Richard Jenkins – Kajillionaire; Will Patton – Minari; Amanda Seyfried – Mank
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
1. Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal
2. Anthony Hopkins – The Father
3. Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
4. Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
5. Frances McDormand – Nomadland
6. Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
7. Zoey Duetch – Buffaloed
8. Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman
9. Lakeith Stanfield – Judas and the Black Messiah
10. Kingsley Ben-Adir – One Night in Miami…
Honourable Mentions: Adarsh Gourav – The White Tiger; Yeri Han – Minari; Tom Holland The Devil All the Time; Delroy Lindo Da 5 Bloods; John Magaro – First Cow; Anya Taylor-Joy – Emma.Evan Rachel Wood – Kajillionaire; Steven Yeun – Minari
BEST CRAFT (Directing, Editing)
1. Eliza Hittman, Scott Cummings – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
2. Florian Zeller, Yorgos Lamprinos – The Father
3. Kelly Reichardt – First Cow
4. Chloé Zhao – Nomadland
5. Aaron Sorkin, Alan Baumgarten – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Honourable Mentions: George C. Wolfe, Andrew Mondshein – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Lee Isaac Chung, Harry Yoon – Minari; Emerald Fennell, Frédéric Thoraval – Promising Young Woman; Darius Marder, Mikkel E.G. Nielsen – Sound of Metal; James Sweeney, Keith Funkhouser – Straight Up
BEST FILM
1. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
2. Sound of Metal     
3. The Father                                 
4. Minari
5. Nomadland
6. First Cow
7. The Trial of the Chicago 7
Honourable Mentions: Kajillionaire; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Straight Up

Promising Young Woman (2020)

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A young woman haunted by a tragedy in her past takes revenge on the predatory men unlucky enough to cross her path. (Letterboxd)
A fascinating mix of (butt)cheeky feminist satire, incredibly tense vigilante thrills, and complex character drama (Mulligan chews licorice and scenery). Questions of justice and forgiveness are tackled at each level within an unpredictable, detailed narrative (see the contrast in address-procuring between Jordan and Ryan). Not everything works (Ryan’s turn felt a bit unfounded; just the “happy” wedding would have been a more impactful ending) but the whole remains compelling. Great soundtrack.
7.5/10 (Really Good)