Columns Movie Reviews

The Second Annual Revvies: Best of the Year in Film & TV | 2020 InReview Site Awards

InReview is pleased to announce its second annual Revvies Awards: Film & TV Edition for 2020. The following awards have been selected by InReview’s editors and writers. To be eligible, all films or TV shows had to be published during the calendar year 2020. Please note that, to appear on this list, at least one staff member of InReview has to see it, and due to the pandemic, some categories have been eliminated or combined due to lack of nominees.

Best Special Effects In A Feature Film or TV Show

Nominees: 

  • Wonder Woman 1984
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • The Invisible Man
  • The Mandalorian Season 2
  • Tenet

Winner: The Mandalorian Season 2

While theater closures led to a severe lack of blockbuster movies, “The Mandalorian” Season 2 managed to push the limit as to what is possible to accomplish in a science fiction TV show, at times looking better than Disney’s theatrical films.

— — —

Best Documentary/Docuseries or Biopic

Nominees:

  • Fear City: New York Vs. The Mafia
  • Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich
  • Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness
  • Mank
  • The Trial of The Chicago 7  

Winner: Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

It’s hard to deny that Tiger King’s impact on popular culture last year, as it provided interesting insight on the shady world of exotic animals and captivated a nation. While by no means a masterpiece, it helped make the pandemic a little more manageable in its first months, and it one of the most bizarrely entertaining docuseries you can find.

— — —

Best Director of a Feature Film or Television Program 

Nominees:

  • David Fincher, Mank
  • Darius Marder, The Sound of Metal 
  • Alan Ball, Uncle Frank
  • George C. Wolfe, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom   
  • II Cho, Alive 

Winner: George C. Wolfe

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, originally a stage play, benefits from Mr. Wolfe’s razor sharp direction informed by his own extensive career in theater. There isn’t much fat on the film, as its excellent cast paired with Wolfe’s expert direction consistently delivers wonderfully dramatic character moments, while the world of the film feels lived in and alive.

— — —

Best Supporting Actress in a Feature Film or TV Program

Nominees:

  • Amanda Seyfried, Mank   
  • Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
  • Taylor Paige, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom  
  • Samara Weaving, The Babysitter: Killer Queen
  • T’Nia Miller, The Haunting of Bly Manor

Winner: Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Maria Bakalova expertly keeps up with Sacha Baron Cohen in Amazon’s Borat sequel, which sees the actress take part in a mix of both staged and live gags, the crown jewel of which happens when she corners former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in a genuine gotcha moment. While absurd and unforgivably offensive, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm cut a revealing swath through Trump’s America that highlight how the vitriol surrounding the 2020 presidential election and Jan. 6 insurrection had been festering long before 2020.

— — —

Best Supporting Actor in a Feature Film or TV Program

Nominees:

  • Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of The Chicago 7 
  • Chadwick Boseman, Da 5 Bloods 
  • Glynn Turman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom 
  • Oliver Jackson-Cohen, The Invisible Man
  • Frank Langella, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Winner: Sacha Baron Cohen

In a star-stuffed cast that includes Eddie Redmayne and Frank Langella, Sacha Baron Cohen stands out for his portrayal of Abbie Hoffman, co-founder of the Youth International Party. Cohen portrays him as a radical with little respect for institutions who often makes things worse for the Chicago 7, but he also portrays him as a keen intellectual who is aware fully of what he is doing and is willing to go down for his cause. Even though his character shares screen time with six other (originally seven other) defendants, Cohen manages to make an impact, not only as an ally to the other members of the 7, but at times a second antagonist.

— — —

Best Leading Actress in a Feature Film  or TV Program

Nominees:

  • Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom 
  • Elisabeth Moss, The Invisible Man
  • Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen’s Gambit
  • Victoria Pedretti, The Haunting of Bly Manor
  • Sarah Paulson, Ratched

Winner: Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom 

Viola Davis’s portrayal as Ma Rainey is simply iconic, and she proves to be the perfect counterweight to co-star Chadwick Boseman in the film. Ma is a domineering blues pioneer in 1927, with a larger than life personality that, while infected with hubris, is backed up by integrity, an iron will and a dedication to her craft.

— — —

Best Leading Actor in a Feature Film  or TV Program

Nominees:

  • Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom 
  • Gary Oldman, Mank 
  • Riz Ahmed, The Sound of Metal
  • Paul Bettany, Uncle Frank
  • Tom Holland, The Devil All the Time

Winner: Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman’s performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is perhaps the best performance of his entire filmography, as he portrays the scrappy and youthful Levee Green, who dreams of forming his own band and demanding the same respect from the primarily white music industry his boss, Ma Rainey, does. But unlike Ma, whose overwhelming talent and already-established base forces those around her to at least tolerate her personality flaws, Levee succumbs to his own. Boseman pours so much heart and dedication to this role, that it easily stands out as the greatest performance of 2020.

— — —

Best Animated Feature Film  or TV Program

Nominees:

  • Soul
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7
  • Onward 
  • Rick and Morty Season 4 Part 2
  • BoJack Horseman Season 6 Part 2

Winner: Soul

Soul is not only one of the best films of 2020, it’s one of Pixar’s best in their already-legendary filmography. Dealing with complex themes of loss, what it means to be happy, and finding a purpose in life, it deals with heavy material both children and adults can enjoy, while exhibiting top-notch animation that really should be enjoyed in a theater.

— — —

Best Overall Film of the Year  or TV Program

Nominees:

  • Mank
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • Da 5 Bloods
  • The Devil All the Time
  • Uncle Frank

Winner: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

With fleshed out and fully realized character powered from powerful performance not only by its leads in Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman, but the entirety of its cast, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom provides a powerful, culturally relevant tale among the best Netflix — or any streaming platform — has ever put out. In a year dominated by new streaming releases, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is our pick for Best Overall Film or TV Program of 2020.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: