The Best Films And Performances Of The First Half Of 2020


Well, we’re halfway through one of the strangest movie years we’ve ever had. For someone who sees more than 300 films a year, not having been in a theater since early March is insane. Still, as you all know, I’ve still been seeing plenty of things, so my film count is over 180 overall for 2020. That being said, for most, that’s not the case, and that’s a shame (though hardly the biggest tragedy right now, of course). Still, with it being July 1st, it’s time to look back on the first half of the year, honoring the best movies and performances that I’ve seen. This year, I’m being very open-minded (minus two specific titles), so if I’ve seen it, it’s potentially on the list. Basically, there’s a few festival titles or July releases that I normally would have held back on, but I figured…why not?

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 half of 2020. Here you go folks, and enjoy:

10. Crshd
9. The Outpost
8. Buffaloed
7. Da 5 Bloods
6. The Invisible Man
5. Banana Split
4. Palm Springs
3. The King of Staten Island
2. The Way Back
1. Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Honorable Mentions: All the Bright Places, Asia, Come as You Are, Endings, Beginnings, Hooking Up, Impractical Jokers: The Movie, Irresistible, Miss Americana, Onward, and Vivarium

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) and Hamilton (not quite sure how to qualify this one, so it goes here)

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

10. Cristin Milioti in Palm Springs
9. Hannah Marks in Banana Split
8. Andy Samberg in Palm Springs
7. Zoey Deutch in Buffaloed
6. Pete Davidson in The King of Staten Island
5. Shailene Woodley in Endings, Beginnings
4. Elisabeth Moss in The Invisible Man
3. Delroy Lindo in Da 5 Bloods
2. Sidney Flanigan in Never Rarely Sometimes Always
1. Ben Affleck in The Way Back

Honorable Mention: Chadwick Boseman (Da 5 Bloods), Bill Burr (The King of Staten Island), Rose Byrne (Irresistible), Sabrina Carpenter (The Short History of the Long Road), Billy Crystal (Standing Up, Falling Down), Jesse Eisenberg (Resistance), Elle Fanning (All The Bright Places), Julia Garner (The Assistant), Judy Greer (Buffaloed), Aldis Hodge (The Invisible Man), Zora Howard (Premature), Samuel L. Jackson (The Banker), Caleb Landry Jones (The Outpost), Zoe Kazan (The Kindness of Strangers), Liana Liberato (Banana Split), Anthony Mackie (The Banker), Al Madrigal (The Way Back), Clarke Peters (Da 5 Bloods), Imogen Poots (Vivarium), Sam Richardson (Hooking Up), Talia Ryder (Never Rarely Sometimes Always), Sadie Scott (Crshd), J.K. Simmons (Palm Springs), Brittany Snow (Hooking Up), and Marisa Tomei (The King of Staten Island)

Most Underrated: Banana Split, Buffaloed, Endings, Beginnings, and Hooking Up
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: Judd Apatow for The King of Staten Island and Gavin O’Connor for The Way Back)

Best Actor: Ben Affleck for The Way Back (runner up: Pete Davidson for The King of Staten Island and Andy Samberg for Palm Springs)

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: Delroy Lindo for Da 5 Bloods (runner up: Aldis Hodge for The Invisible Man and Samuel L. Jackson for The Banker)

Best Supporting Actress: Liana Liberato for Banana Split (runner up: Talia Ryder for Never Rarely Sometimes Always and Sadie Scott for Crshd)

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

Best Original Screenplay: The King of Staten Island (runner up: Never Rarely Sometimes Always and Palm Springs)

Best Ensemble: Da 5 Bloods (runner up: Banana Split and The King of Staten Island)

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

Best Documentary Feature: Miss Americana (runner up: Crip Camp and You Don’t Nomi)

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

Best Production Design: The Outpost (runner up: Birds of Prey and Da 5 Bloods)

Best Cinematography: Da 5 Bloods (runner up: The King of Staten Island and Never Rarely Sometimes Always)

Best Costume Design: Birds of Prey (runner up: Da 5 Bloods and The Outpost)

Best Film Editing: Never Rarely Sometimes Always (runner up: Da 5 Bloods and The Way Back)

Best Makeup: Da 5 Bloods (runner up: Birds of Prey and The Outpost)

Best Sound: The Invisible Man (runner up: Da 5 Bloods and The Outpost)

Best Original Score: Onward (runner up: Da 5 Bloods and The Invisible Man)

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

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

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

There you go ladies and gentlemen…now to eagerly await the second 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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