It’s finally time to reveal what films, shows, songs, performances, and games were my absolute favorites of the year 2020. Look, I know what you’re thinking, we’re already in July of 2021. But, to be perfectly honest with you, the last twelve-to-sixteen months or so have for obvious reasons made everything a bit unclear to me. Let’s just say, it was a weird year, as was also evident by the fact that AMPAS decided to push the eligibility window for their recent awards ceremony (which both honored 2020 films and select films from early 2021). I’m not doing that, though. I still have my strict year-end deadline, but, unlike the last seven I’m Jeffrey Rex Awards, I’m announcing both the nominees and winners of each and every category in this very post. So strap in, folks, and let’s talk about the best and most memorable culture of 2020.
Before I get started I would like to again mention that since this edition, as always, only includes films that were released properly in the year that is being celebrated, some of the films that have been celebrated at select awards ceremonies recently will only be eligible for next year’s edition of the I’m Jeffrey Rex Awards. This means that, for example, films such as Minari, The Father, and Nomadland all count as 2021 films in my book, and therefore they have not been considered for this edition of my personal awards at any point. If I deem them worthy of nominations or wins, they are eligible for next year’s awards.
Also, as always, I haven’t seen everything in the world. My awards are limited by the films and shows that I have watched. That’s just the nature of the game. If there is a film that you think I should watch, or a film that you think deserved a nomination, then please feel free to write a comment below.
Song of the Year
- “No Time To Die,” – Performed by Billie Eilish – Theme from the upcoming James Bond-film of the same name (CLICK HERE TO LISTEN).
Admittedly, it does feel weird to give the theme from an upcoming 2021 film the award for best song of 2020, but, again, 2020 was a weird year. This song was released back in February of 2020, when we all thought we would actually get to see No Time To Die before we even started to make plans for this year. And, so here we are, Billie Eilish has incredibly won this award for the second year in a row. She is making quite a name for herself with both her 2019 debut studio album and this amazing theme. Her voice fits so well with the dark approach to the Bond-franchise that Daniel Craig’s era has taken to the previously so fun-loving film series. This isn’t the best theme of the Daniel Craig-era, but it is right up there with “Skyfall,” and “You Know My Name,” as a truly memorable Bond-theme.
Also nominated: “Caution,” (The Killers) – “F2020,” (Avenue Beat) – “Husavik,” (Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga) – “Without You,” (The Kid Laroi).
Best Performance by a Voice Actor in a Gaming Experience
- Laura Bailey as ‘Abby’ in The Last of Us Part II.
Earlier this year, I wrote a lengthy spoiler-filled rundown and review of the sequel to my favorite video game of all-time. It didn’t garner the traction that I hoped it would, but I’m really proud of that article, which I would greatly appreciate if you would check out by clicking here. Laura Bailey was heavily criticized for the actions of the character that she portrayed in The Last of Us Part II, and absolutely no one deserves that kind of treatment. Not only is she not responsible for the actions of a character in a fictional story, but she delivered a moving performance as the game’s antagonist. And let me state clearly for all to see that I think this game is arguably the greatest story-focused game sequel ever made, but more on that later.
Also nominated: Ashley Johnson (The Last of Us Part II) – Daisuke Tsuji (Ghost of Tsushima) – Nadji Jeter (Spider-Man: Miles Morales) – Troy Baker (The Last of Us Part II).
Game of the Year
- The Last of Us Part II – Naughty Dog.
“I think this is a huge achievement for not just Naughty Dog and PlayStation, but also the industry as a whole. I think that this, like the original game, is the kind of game that can make the public realize that video games are a rich art form capable of a wide variety of storytelling. The Last of Us: Part II is an incredible achievement and an equally good sequel. It is beautiful but violent, shattering but thought-provoking, and challenging in more ways than one.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen in the article ‘Look for the Light: The Last of Us: Part II is a Truly Special Game‘
Also nominated: Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout – Ghost of Tsushima – Spider-Man: Miles Morales.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Superhero Film or Television Show
- Antony Starr as ‘Homelander’ in The Boys: Season Two.
Truth be told, I haven’t written as extensively about The Boys as I should. I think this show is incredible. It is so self-aware, it’s often very violent, and it is almost always so entertaining. The show goes places that few shows even dare think about going to, and Antony Starr is one of the reasons why the show works as well as it does. The New Zealand actor has the same magnetic appeal that made Michael Fassbender a star, and I think he is pitch-perfect as this frightening take on Superman.
Also nominated: Chris Pine (Wonder Woman 1984) – Ewan McGregor (Birds of Prey) – Karl Urban (The Boys: Season Two) – Pedro Pascal (Wonder Woman 1984).
Best Performance by an Actress in a Superhero Film or Television Show
- Margot Robbie as ‘Harley Quinn’ in Birds of Prey.
“This is, of course, Margot Robbie’s film, and she is really fun to watch in it. I would be remiss if I did not mention in the review that I, at one point in the film, caught myself thinking that I would love for her to play this character for years and years and basically own the iconic role. Robbie is a star, and she can definitely lead her own comic book film.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘Birds of Prey‘
Also nominated: Aya Cash (The Boys: Season Two) – Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman 1984) – Jurnee Smollett (Birds of Prey) – Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Birds of Prey).
Superhero Film of the Year
- Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).
Truth be told, 2020 was a very weak year for superhero films. Normally, there are so many more films to choose from. And I guess you could make the argument that a film like The Old Guard could technically qualify for a nomination, but I decided against it. In the end, it was easy to find a winner in this category because Birds of Prey is far and away the best superhero film of the year. It, honestly, feels like it hasn’t received the love that it deserves. I think it could’ve had more success at the box office if it had actually been titled Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey instead, but that’s neither here nor there.
“Cathy Yan’s delightfully energetic film has kick-ass action, is unafraid of brightness and colorful costumes, and it has a chaotic but magnetic leading character that is always fun to watch.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘Birds of Prey‘
Also nominated: The New Mutants (dir. Josh Boone) – We Can Be Heroes (dir. Robert Rodriguez) – Wonder Woman 1984 (dir. Patty Jenkins).
Best Supporting Performance by an Actor or Actress in a Television Show
- Tony Dalton as ‘Lalo Salamanca’ in Better Call Saul: Season 5.
It says a lot about Tony Dalton’s portrayal of Lalo Salamanca that he has already become not just almost a fan-favorite character but also one of the most frightening characters in both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. The way that Dalton brings Lalo to life is so incredible. He can steal a scene from absolutely anyone else on the show. He is confident, charming, and menacing at the very same time, and the fact that we know very little about this character from Breaking Bad makes him even more unpredictable. Tony Dalton’s performance does so much for this show especially in the fifth season, and I’m pretty sure this is going to legitimately be his breakthrough role.
Also nominated: Jason Bateman (The Outsider), Julia Garner (Ozark), T’Nia Miller (The Haunting of Bly Manor), and Juno Temple (Ted Lasso).
Best New TV-Show
- Normal People – Hulu / BBC / RTÉ.
“This is just a breathtaking show about people of different genders, degrees of popularity, and familial backgrounds going from young adulthood into actual adulthood and learning from challenging experiences all the while struggling with social interaction, as they eventually embrace digital communication. I know this isn’t a historical drama, I know this doesn’t feature dragons and white walkers, and I know it isn’t a crime thriller, but, make no mistake, this is the kind of must-watch television that sticks with you.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my article ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Summer ’21‘.
Also nominated: I Know This Much Is True (HBO), Lovecraft Country (HBO), The Outsider (HBO), and Ted Lasso (Apple TV+).
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Show
- Paul Mescal as ‘Connell Waldron’ in Normal People.
This is one of the most difficult awards to make a decision on in this entire list. O’Connor, Odenkirk, Ruffalo, and Sudeikis all deserve to win this award (both Odenkirk and Sudeikis almost won me over). Heck, I also feel bad about not finding room to nominate Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country), Jason Bateman (Ozark), and Ben Mendelsohn (The Outsider).
So, what tipped the scales in Paul Mescal’s favor? Well, there are actually several reasons why. One of these is that both Odenkirk (who has already won this award) and Sudeikis have a more than good chance to be nominated for this award for the next seasons of their show, whereas Paul Mescal’s talent is a hidden gem that I desperately want to spotlight, and his show will not get a second season to the best of my knowledge.
But more than anything else, I am still just in awe of Mescal raw and vulnerable performance as ‘Connell’ in Normal People, which is still on my mind from time to time for various reasons. In Normal People, Mescal’s character journey about emotional articulation was especially incredible.
Also nominated: Josh O’Connor (The Crown), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), Mark Ruffalo (I Know This Much Is True), and Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso).
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Show
- Rhea Seehorn as ‘Kim Wexler’ in Better Call Saul: Season 5.
Everyone who watches Better Call Saul loves Kim Wexler, and they love her because of Rhea Seehorn. Seehorn’s is a character that you are scared for, that you root for, and who surprises you in the most tense situations. I think this is the best showcase season for Seehorn’s performance as Kim, though, with her scenes with Lalo Salamanca standing out as some of the best scenes in the entire show.
Also nominated: Emma Corrin (The Crown), Daisy Edgar-Jones (Normal People), Cynthia Erivo (The Outsider), and Laura Linney (Ozark).
Best Performance by a Cast in a Television Show
- Gillian Anderson, Marion Bailey, Helena Bonham Carter, Stephen Boxer, Olivia Colman, Emma Corrin, Erin Doherty, Charles Edwards, Emerald Fennell, Tobias Menzies, Josh O’Connor, and Sam Phillips. – The Crown: Season 4 – Netflix.
Consistently great, The Crown is the kind of show that I’ve been looking for the right way to honor in this list. The cast is, from top to bottom, outrageously good even after it was recast after the second season. Of note, the fourth season added Emma Corrin and Gillian Anderson, and they were more than capable of keeping up with the rest of the cast. Pairing Anderson with Colman and, especially, pairing Corrin with Josh O’Connor made the show gripping even when Colman’s character took a backseat in the plot. This is just a phenomenal ensemble cast performance.
Also nominated: Better Call Saul (AMC/Netflix), Lovecraft Country (HBO), Ozark (Netflix), and Ted Lasso (Apple TV+).
Television Episode of the Year
- Better Call Saul: Season 5 – “Bad Choice Road.”
One might have thought that after the grueling experience that the show’s titular character went through in the previous episode — “Bagman” — the showrunners might’ve chosen to let the next episode deal with the fallout in a slightly less intense way than it ultimately did. Not so. “Bad Choice Road,” though initially very much focused on the immediate events following the previous episode, focuses on what Kim Wexler’s role is in all of this, as well as on her understanding and feelings about Jimmy’s business dealings with Lalo Salamanca. However, in thrilling fashion, the episode turns the intensity up to eleven when Lalo arrives at their apartment door to confront Jimmy about what exactly happened when he transported Lalo’s money through the desert. What follows is an acting showcase for Tony Dalton and Rhea Seehorn and arguably one of the best scenes in the entire show.
Also nominated: “The Altar of the Dead” (The Haunting of Bly Manor), “Bagman” (Better Call Saul), “Chapter 15: The Believer” (The Mandalorian), and “Chapter 16: The Rescue” (The Mandalorian).
Television Show of the Year
- Better Call Saul: Season 5 – AMC / Netflix.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again and again until it gets the credit far and wide that it truly deserves. Better Call Saul isn’t just a worthy Breaking Bad spin-off, I think it is equally good and perhaps even more consistent, and I genuinely think it is the most succesful spin-off that I have ever seen. The show-runners and the writers’ room continue to top themselves and the outrageously fantastic cast continues to churn out stunning and jaw-dropping performances that can make you reconsider everything that you thought you knew about the show. The fifth season wasn’t just another great season, it was genuinely the best season of the show, with several episodes that ought to be considered as some of the greatest episodes in the entire series. I really hope that it can stick the landing once the spin-off comes to an end, and if it does indeed stick the landing, then there can be no doubt about just how exceptional this show is.
Also nominated: BoJack Horseman (Netflix), The Crown (Netflix), The Mandalorian (Disney+), and Normal People (Hulu/BBC/RTÉ).
Unforgettable Television Quote of the Year
- “Oh, don’t you fuckin’ ‘Oh, Jimmy’-me. You look down on me?! You pity me?! Walk away. That’s right, Howard. You know why I didn’t take the job? ‘Cause it’s too small! I don’t care about it! It’s nothing to me! It’s a bacterium! I travel in worlds you can’t even imagine! You can’t conceive of what I’m capable of! I’m so far beyond you! I’m like a God in human clothing! Lightning bolts shoot from my fingertips!” – Better Call Saul: JMM
There are obviously a lot of different quotes that I could’ve gone with here. I did consider choosing a bit of comforting nice guy wisdom in the form of a Ted Lasso quote. But, in the end, it felt right to end up with Jimmy McGill’s overconfident rant delivered with such energy by the impeccable Bob Odenkirk from the fifth season of Better Call Saul, which is sure to end up as one of the most wild monologues in the entire show eventually.
Television Legend Award
- Peter Falk – Actor, Comedian.
Excuse me. I just have one more thing to reveal in the television section. Peter Falk will always be Lt. Columbo. I think it is a character that he brought so much detail and personality to, and I’ll always owe a part of my childhood to this character. My dad would often put on an episode of Columbo and then he and I would have a lot of fun with Falk’s performances. One day, I’m sure Columbo will be rebooted or remade, but Peter Falk will always be a true television legend.
Also nominated: No nominations.
Best Movie Poster
- I’m Thinking of Ending Things – Alternative Release Poster – Sitting in the Snow.
This is a poster that is just so striking to me. But it also really fits the mood of this disorientating, depressing, and confusing film.
Best Movie Trailer
- The Batman – DC FanDome Teaser.
The great thing about this category is that I can use it to praise films that have not yet been released. This trailer for Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman was released back in August of 2020, and I still think about it from time to time. I’ve probably watched it more than any other trailer this year, which is saying a lot since I have been obsessed with the first trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s Dune.
Also nominated: Druk, Dune, and Retfærdighedens Ryttere.
Unforgettable Movie Quote of the Year
- “Skal vi nu ikke bare få det her overstået som team, så vi kan komme hjem og få banankage? / Let’s just get this over with as a team, so we can go home and eat banana cake.” – Retfærdighedens Ryttere.
To be perfectly honest, I really struggled with this category this year. In the end, I went with this Danish line from Retfærdighedens Ryttere, Anders Thomas Jensen’s latest dark comedy. I could’ve gone with one of the other funny lines, but in the end I went with this quirky line of dialogue that Lars Brygmann’s character blurts out. He is just hilarious in the film, and the fact that he’s more interested in cake than their mission just cracks me up.
Unforgettable Film Scene or Sequence of the Year
- The triumphant dance in Thomas Vinterberg’s Druk (International title: Another Round).
“But the film’s very best scene is positively electrifying. Without revealing too much, I will say that Mads Mikkelsen makes use of one of his hidden talents and, as a result, creates one of the year’s most memorable film scenes. This sequence left a huge smile on my face as the film came to an end, and it perfectly encapsulated that feeling of elation after having recaptured something you thought you had lost.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘Druk‘.
Also nominated: The restaurant scene in The Invisible Man, and the Rudy Giuliani scene in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.
Best Achievement by a Rising Star in Film: Acting
- Wunmi Mosaku as ‘Rial’ in His House.
“This is Mosaku and Dirisu’s show, and they are both excellent here. This year has been particularly great for Mosaku, who also made memorable appearances in the HBO-show Lovecraft Country.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘His House‘.
Also nominated: Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), Andrea Heick Gadeberg (Retfærdighedens Ryttere), Sophia Lillis (Uncle Frank), and John David Washington (Tenet).
Best Achievement by a Rising Star: Filmmaking
- Darius Marder – Sound of Metal.
“I think that Darius Marder’s Sound of Metal, his first narrative feature film as a director, completely lives up to its reputation. I think there is a universality in the theme of ‘appreciating stillness,’ and I think that anyone can understand the main character’s reasoning for fighting desperately to preserve the life that he knows he cannot regain. This is a powerful film that made me think a lot about how people around the world ought to appreciate not just stillness but the tiny details of everyday life.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘Sound of Metal‘.
Also nominated: Remi Weekes (His House), Autumn de Wilde (Emma.), Alan Yang (Tigertail), and Anders Ølholm & Frederik Louis Hviid (Shorta).
- Alexander Nanau’s Collective.
“Collective is a devastating and infuriating observational documentary that I have thought a lot about ever since I first saw it a couple of days ago. Although it is, at times, difficult to watch, Alexander Nanau’s latest documentary is a thought-provoking film that tells an important story about the importance of a free and independent press in the face of an alarmingly corrupt government and health system. I also think that it is arguably the best documentary of 2020.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘Collective‘.
Also nominated: Boys State, Dick Johnson is Dead, and The Last Dance.
Best Achievement in Visual Effects in a Film
2020 in film wasn’t a great year for great blockbuster filmmaking that was almost entirely reliant on visual effects as a direct result of the many films whose releases were delayed as a result of the global pandemic. But Tenet stands out as the most impressive visual effects-reliant film of the year. Often when we talk about great visual effects, we think about worlds or characters created out of visual effects, but in this case I’m highlighting the impressive way in which the ‘trick’ of the film — things going backwards — is executed so efficiently through visual effects trickery, which is especially impressive in the film’s final act.
Also nominated: Birds of Prey, The Invisible Man, The Midnight Sky, and Sonic the Hedgehog.
Best Achievement in Production Design
- Kave Quinn and Stella Fox – Emma..
Although I fully realize that most awards ceremonies have gone with other films, I was just really impressed with the production design in Emma..
“The production designer (Kave Quinn) and set decorator (Stella Fox) deserve a lot of credit for using rich and vibrant colors to accentuate the main locations. The film has an intentionally heightened set decoration and characters that can sometimes seem equally exaggerated and this helps to establish a comedic tone that I really liked. “Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘Emma.‘.
Also nominated: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Tenet.
Best Achievement in Costume Design
- Alexandra Byrne – Emma..
“Because this absolutely is a witty costume drama, and, as expected, I thought Alexandra Byrne’s costumes were absolutely fabulous.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘Emma.‘.
Also nominated: Birds of Prey, Lovers Rock, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Best Achievement in Cinematography
- Hoyte van Hoytema – Tenet.
Tenet is a film that is destined to be debated and discussed in dorm rooms and film clubs all over the world possibly for years to come. It is complex and, to me, quite thrilling. But one thing that is undeniable is the majestic and awe-inspiring cinematography of Hoyte van Hoytema.
Also nominated: Da 5 Bloods, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, and Lovers Rock.
Best Film Score
- Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Jon Batiste – Soul.
“The film did move me to tears, though. That is also, to some extent, thanks to the jazz compositions from Jon Batiste and the wonderful musical score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘Soul‘.
Also nominated: Da 5 Bloods, Emma., and Tenet.
Best Film Editing
- Mikkel E. G. Nielsen – Sound of Metal.
This was a fairly difficult category for me to pick a winner in. For a while, I was switching between the winner and Alan Baumgarten (The Trial of the Chicago 7), as I with the latter film thought the editing style and rhythm helped to communicate the story in a way that complimented Sorkin’s writing style. But I ended up going with Sound of Metal because it must be said that the film works as well as it does because of how its editing makes us feel ‘inside of the main character’s head’. I think Sound of Metal relies a lot on the film editing and sound design to make it work, and for that reason I just had to go with it.
Also nominated: Alan Baumgarten (The Trial of the Chicago 7), Robert Frazen (I’m Thinking of Ending Things), Jennifer Lame (Tenet), and Anne Østerud & Janus Billeskov Jansen (Druk).
Best Visual Effects or Voice-Over Performance by an Actor in a Film
- Tom Holland as ‘Ian Lightfoot’ in Onward.
“It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that Tom Holland is particularly great as a voice-actor in Onward, since he got his start with a prominent voice-role in Steven Knight’s Locke. In fact, his voice-acting performance in Locke is something that I think about quite a lot actually. Holland is a natural fit”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘Onward‘.
Also nominated: Jamie Foxx (Soul), Oliver Jackson-Cohen (The Invisible Man), Chris Pratt (Onward), and Ben Schwartz (Sonic the Hedgehog).
Best Supporting Performance by an Actor in a Film
- Lars Brygmann as ‘Lennart’ in Retfærdighedens Ryttere.
“This is in large part due to Lars Brygmann’s scene-stealing performance as Lennart, whose confidence and personality made me laugh almost every time he opened his mouth”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘Retfærdighedens Ryttere‘.
Also nominated: Chadwick Boseman (Da 5 Bloods), Robert Pattinson (Tenet & The Devil All the Time), and Paul Raci (Sound of Metal).
Best Supporting Performance by an Actress in a Film
- Maria Bakalova as ‘Tutar Sagdiyev’ in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.
“However, I think even Baron Cohen would agree that one of the main reasons why this film works as well as it does is Borat Subsequent Moviefilm‘s secret weapon, Mara Bakalova. The as of yet relatively unknown actress can, like Baron Cohen mastered with Borat Sagdiyev in 2006, expose bad behavior. Bakalova is every bit as funny as Baron Cohen is in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and without Bakalova — and the father-daughter narrative arc at the center of the film — Baron Cohen would, for the most part, really only have material fit for his show Who Is America?, which, though fairly good, is not at all as memorable as these films.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm‘.
Also nominated: Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy), Andrea Heick Gadeberg (Retfærdighedens Ryttere), Mia Goth (Emma.), and Allison Janney (Bad Education).
Best Performance by an Actor in a Film
- Chadwick Boseman as ‘Levee’ in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
“However, there can be no doubt that this absolutely is Chadwick Boseman’s film. As we now know, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was the late, great Chadwick Boseman’s final film performances, and what a performance it is. In 2020, we have seen Chadwick Boseman deliver two of his career’s very best performances, with this and Da 5 Bloods. In Da 5 Bloods, he delivers a memorable supporting performance as an almost messianic character who was lost too soon, and, in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Chadwick Boseman channels a fiery and exciting charisma as a wronged man trying to have the moment his gifts should earn him. Like Levee appears to be, Boseman was an incredible talent who we all felt was on his way to becoming one of his industry’s most iconic stars. It hurts when Boseman, as Levee, proclaims that his time is coming, and Boseman is both electrifying and shattering in the role at the heart of the film.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom‘.
Also nominated: Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), Hugh Jackman (Bad Education), Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods), and Mads Mikkelsen (Druk).
Best Performance by an Actress in a Film
- Elisabeth Moss as ‘Cecilia Kass’ in The Invisible Man.
“These last few years, cineastes have seen some excellent female performances in horror films. Though The Invisible Man is really more of a psychological thriller, I think Elisabeth Moss’ performance fits right in with the outstanding performances given by actors like Toni Collette, Florence Pugh, and Lupita Nyong’o in recent years. Moss is very convincing when her character is visibly losing her grip on reality, and whenever Cecilia tries to persuade her friends to believe what cannot possibly be believed without evidence. The make-up department also deserves some credit for the character’s appearance towards the end of the film, but Moss and her expressive face are the stars of the film.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘The Invisible Man‘.
Also nominated: Jessie Buckley (I’m Thinking of Ending Things), Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Wunmi Mosaku (His House), and Anya Taylor-Joy (Emma.).
Best Performance by a Cast in a Film
- Retfærdighedens Ryttere (International title: Riders of Justice).
This is just a phenomenal film that I really think deserves this kind of award. As one might say, this is really a who’s who of Danish actors. It features Denmark’s two most popular actors — Mads Mikkelsen and Nikolaj Lie Kaas — as well as some of our most beloved supporting actors — Lars Brygmann and Nicolas Bro. On top of this, Gustav Lindh and Andrea Heick Gadeberg — two rising stars from Sweden and Denmark, respectively — both deliver memorable performances. The cast is phenomenal and I have a genuinely tough time seeing anyone else play the four main characters in the film. They are simply that good.
Also nominated: Da 5 Bloods, Druk, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and The Trial of the Chicago 7.
Best Achievement in Writing a Film: Adapted
- Charlie Kaufman – I’m Thinking of Ending Things.
“I look at the film almost like a Rorschach test due to Kaufman’s unique and ambiguous storytelling. From my point of view, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is an incredibly sad film about both the merging of your identity and the culture you consume, as well as about a dejected individual whose mind is deteriorating perhaps due to the passing of time and the many regrets that appear to have taken a toll. […] Kaufman has crafted a labyrinthine and cerebral film that is uneasy from start to finish and which goes places that few could predict.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things‘.
Also nominated: Bad Education, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, The Invisible Man, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Best Achievement in Writing a Film: Original
- Thomas Vinterberg & Tobias Lindholm – Druk (International title: Another Round).
“In someone else’s hands, this could’ve been just a silly workplace comedy, but, even though there are certain scenes with a lot of humor at the expense of the main characters, this film treats all of its characters with a dignity that is refreshing. The overwhelming feeling here is that Vinterberg and Lindholm’s script is non-judgmental towards its main characters.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘Druk‘.
Also nominated: Da 5 Bloods, Retfærdighedens Ryttere, Soul, and Sound of Metal.
Best Achievement in Directing a Film
- Thomas Vinterberg – Druk (International title: Another Round).
“Vinterberg’s newest film is dedicated to his late daughter Ida, who died as a result of a traffic collision last year. Prior to her passing, Ida was scheduled to appear in her father’s film, and, in her memory, Vinterberg has made a triumphant celebration of life, love, and youth. This is one of Vinterberg’s very best films, and its pacing, humor, and catharsis are all masterful and fully earned.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘Druk‘.
Also nominated: Charlie Kaufman (I’m Thinking of Ending Things), Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods), Steve McQueen (Lovers Rock), and Leigh Whannell (The Invisible Man).
The Not-Too-Shabby Award
- David Dobkin’s Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.
The Not-Too-Shabby Award is a new award for this year. As you may have already gathered, this award is a celebration of films that turned out much better than I thought they would be. This can be a film that I was worried would be bad, or a film that I thought would be bad, but which actually surprised me quite a bit. The winner of the award may not be the best thing since sliced bread, but it’s definitely worth a watch! This also means that the winner isn’t necessarily the best film that is nominated, but it is the film that surprised me in the best way.
So, why did I go with Eurovision Song Contest? Well, to be honest, I did not think I would be this happy with a film about the very European song contest, which I watch and enjoy every year, since it was being made by an American director and spearheaded by two actors from North America. But somehow they actually managed to create a silly and sweet tribute to the competition. I think this is going to be a movie that I turn on every year to prepare for the actual competition, and I think that makes it worthy of this award.
Also nominated: Greenland (dir. Ric Roman Waugh), The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special (dir. Ken Cunningham), The Lovebirds (dir. Michael Showalter), and Sonic the Hedgehog (dir. Jeff Fowler).
Best Sequel, Prequel, or Remake
- Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man.
“this is a suspenseful and almost nerve-racking psychological thriller, as well as a fresh and modern version of the H. G. Wells story thanks, in large part, to its focus on the effects of toxic relationships, stalking, and gaslighting. Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man is a truly outstanding psychological thriller, but also the first great film of 2020.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘The Invisible Man‘.
Also nominated: Birds of Prey, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Emma., and Klovn: The Final.
Best Animated Film
- Pete Docter’s Soul.
“Though I don’t think this film will be quite as memorable to younger audiences down the road, I do think that Pete Docter has hit another home run with his fourth film, Soul. To me, Pete Docter’s latest film is really a celebration of life on Earth. It is a mature, ambitious, and profound mid-life crisis film about figuring out what your purpose is. I absolutely loved it.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘Soul‘.
Also nominated: Onward and The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special.
Best Danish Film
- Thomas Vinterberg’s Druk.
I could talk about this movie for days. I genuinely really want the opportunity to write an essay about it for Criterion one day, if at all possible. This was actually surprisingly close for me. Make no mistake, Druk is the right winner, but I think that Retfærdighedens Ryttere is an equally memorable film, but for very different reasons.
Also nominated: Klovn: The Final (dir. Mikkel Nørgaard), Kød & Blod (dir. Jeanette Nordahl), Retfærdighedens Ryttere (dir. Anders Thomas Jensen), Shorta (dir. Anders Ølholm & Frederik Louis Hviid), and Vores Mand i Amerika (dir. Christina Rosendahl).
Best Non-American Film
- Thomas Vinterberg’s Druk (International title: Another Round).
“Vinterberg has made a triumphant celebration of life, love, and youth. This is one of Vinterberg’s very best films, and its pacing, humor, and catharsis are all masterful and fully earned. Every choice has been made, seemingly, with a specific purpose in mind.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘Druk‘.
Also nominated: Collective (dir. Alexander Nanau), His House (dir. Remi Weekes), Lovers Rock (dir. Steve McQueen), Retfærdighedens Ryttere (dir. Anders Thomas Jensen), and Sputnik (dir. Egor Abramenko).
- Thomas Vinterberg’s Druk (International title: Another Round).
“Druk isn’t just a great crowd-pleaser but also one of the best Danish films in a very long time. This is a special film about rediscovering the fountain of youth by loosening your inhibitions thanks to liquid courage. This is a powerful celebration of youth, life, and love that includes a truly intoxicating, electrifying, and rip-roaring ending that’ll stick with you.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my review of ‘Druk‘.
Also nominated: The Invisible Man (dir. Leigh Whannell), Retfærdighedens Ryttere (dir. Anders Thomas Jensen), Sound of Metal (dir. Darius Marder), and Soul (dir. Pete Docter).
Best Body of Work: Acting
- Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods & Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Although, I must admit, I did consider Mads Mikkelsen’s performances in Another Round and Riders of Justice for a moment there, I really do feel like Chadwick is the right winner here. Why is that? Well, I think he delivered arguably his two best performances of his entire career in 2020 films. They are very different performances, but I think that the charisma and the fire that he brings to Levee in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom makes it the best performance of his career.
Also nominated: No nominations.
Film Legend Award
- Chadwick Boseman – Actor, Playwright, Director.
Chadwick Boseman was always going to become one of my ‘Film Legends,’ but I never thought he would become one this soon. He commanded the screen as one of the best acting talents of his generation, and he became a true cultural icon and a star for all the world to see. More importantly, by all accounts, he was also wonderful man, and I truly wish his friends and family the very best. Rest in peace, Chadwick Boseman.
“Boseman was an effortlessly cool and regal screen presence who became an icon and was a true screen legend in the making. Like when Anton Yelchin and Heath Ledger passed away, it feels like we have lost someone whose star was still on the rise. Chadwick Boseman was not just a great actor, he was also an eloquent culturally important figure and a role model.
He was an elegant but regal actor who could make you stand up and take notice. He was a giving performer, whose confident and reliable commitment appeared to empower and enhance his co-stars, and, by all accounts, he was a giving person. It is absolutely incredible that he fought with his condition since 2016 and still managed to be so committed, infallible, and powerful. He had an unfathomable strength. I will always be a fan.”Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen, from my Chadwick Boseman Tribute Article ‘Wakanda Forever‘.
Also nominated: No nominations.
And that brings us to the end of my 8th I’m Jeffrey Rex Awards. But, before we know it, another edition will have to be released. A year really can go by so unbelievably fast. Also, if you are interested in how I rank films and television shows from 2020, then please do seek out my lists from the dropdown menu above. Thank you for reading!
– Article Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.