The Best Films And Performances Of The First Third Of 2020


A third of the way through the year, it’s safe to say that 2020 is unlike any we’ve ever faced. Cinemas are shut, large scale wide releases are on pause, and the only things being put out are independent titles, through Video On Demand services. Still, there are a great deal of quality films have that come out, along with several award worthy performances. Today, much like we did last month, we’re going to focus on these movies and acting turns, as a way of keeping a positive frame of mind. To be fair, a lot of these flicks and acting jobs will be repeats, but we’re just in a sort of holding pattern right now. Still, superior cinema is superior cinema…

Let’s get right down to it. Below you’ll find my top ten of the year so far, along with my awards for the first third of 2020. Here you go folks, and enjoy:

10. Come As You Are
9. Endings, Beginnings
8. All the Bright Places
7. Onward
6. Hooking Up
5. Banana Split
4. The Invisible Man
3. Buffaloed
2. The Way Back
1. Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Honorable Mentions: The Assistant, Bacurau, Big Time Adolescence, Birds of Prey, The Hunt, Impractical Jokers: The Movie, Miss Americana, Premature, Vivarium, and The Whistlers

Special Citation: Bad Education (Technically a TV Movie since HBO picked up and released it on the small screen, but would have made my top ten, otherwise)

Here also are my top ten performances of the year so far:

10. Sam Richardson in Hooking Up
9. Hannah Marks in Banana Split
8. Brittany Snow in Hooking Up
7. Julia Garner in The Assistant
6. Jesse Eisenberg in Resistance
5. Zoey Deutch in Buffaloed
4. Shailene Woodley in Endings, Beginnings
3. Elisabeth Moss in The Invisible Man
2. Sidney Flanigan in Never Rarely Sometimes Always
1. Ben Affleck in The Way Back

Honorable Mention: Billy Crystal (Standing Up, Falling Down), Pete Davidson (Big Time Adolescence), Elle Fanning (All The Bright Places), Judy Greer (Buffaloed), Aldis Hodge (The Invisible Man), Zora Howard (Premature), Samuel L. Jackson (The Banker), Liana Liberato (Banana Split), Zoe Kazan (The Kindness of Strangers), Anthony Mackie (The Banker), Al Madrigal (The Way Back), Imogen Poots (Vivarium), Talia Ryder (Never Rarely Sometimes Always), and Sebastian Stan (Endings, Beginnings)

Most Underrated: Buffaloed, Hooking Up, and Endings, Beginnings
Most Overrated: Sorry We Missed You and Swallow

(Special Citation again to Bad Education, and specially Hugh Jackman)

As you might have guessed, my number one pick above would be my choice for Best Picture so far (with number two the runner up, and so on, but here are the other awards I would give out…

Best Director: Eliza Hittman for Never Rarely Sometimes Always (runner up: Gavin O’Connor for The Way Back and Tanya Wexler for Buffaloed)

Best Actor: Ben Affleck for The Way Back (runner up: Jesse Eisenberg for Resistance and Sam Richardson for Hooking Up)

Best Actress: Sidney Flanigan for Never Rarely Sometimes Always (runner up: Elisabeth Moss for The Invisible Man and Shailene Woodley for Endings, Beginnings)

Best Supporting Actor: Samuel L. Jackson for The Banker (runner up: Aldis Hodge for The Invisible Man and Sebastian Stan for Endings, Beginnings)

Best Supporting Actress: Liana Liberato for Banana Split (runner up: Judy Greer for Buffaloed and Talia Ryder for Never Rarely Sometimes Always)

Best Adapted Screenplay: All the Bright Places (runner up: Birds of Prey and First Cow)

Best Original Screenplay: Banana Split (runner up: Buffaloed and Never Rarely Sometimes Always)

Best Ensemble: Banana Split (runner up: Buffaloed and Endings, Beginnings)

Best Animated Feature: Onward (runner up: The Willoughbys)

Best Documentary Feature: Miss Americana (runner up: Crip Camp and Hillary)

Best Foreign Language Feature: Bacurau (runner up: The Whistlers and Zombi Child)

Best Production Design: Birds of Prey (runner up: The Invisible Man and Vivarium)

Best Cinematography: The Way Back (runner up: The Invisible Man and Never Rarely Sometimes Always)

Best Costume Design: Birds of Prey (runner up: The Banker and First Cow)

Best Film Editing: Never Rarely Sometimes Always (runner up: The Invisible Man and The Way Back)

Best Makeup: Birds of Prey (runner up: Bacurau and Extraction)

Best Sound: The Invisible Man (runner up: Birds of Prey and Onward)

Best Original Score: Onward (runner up: The Invisible Man and The Way Back)

Best Original Song: Only the Young from Miss Americana (no runner ups)

Best Visual Effects: The Invisible Man (runner up: Birds of Prey and Underwater)

*We’re forgoing any extra Worst of the Year content for now. Positive vibes, instead)*

There you go ladies and gentlemen…now to eagerly await the final segment of the first half of cinematic releases!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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