9th I’m Jeffrey Rex Awards, Pt. I – 2021

This year, like I’ve sometimes done in the past, I’m splitting up my blog’s awards into two parts. The second part is all about cinema, while this first half concerns video games, music, superhero entertainment, and, chiefly, television. As you’ll see, one show in particular really blew me away in 2021. I should also say that I’ve classified shows like The Book of Boba Fett, Station Eleven, Yellowjackets, Mayor of Kingstown as 2022 shows, so they are ineligible for this edition of the IJR Awards. In any case, let’s get to it.

Song of the Year

  • “Drivers License,” – Olivia Rodrigo.

2021 was an incredible year for Olivia Rodrigo. Her debut album was outstanding, and “Drivers License” is one of the songs that I wasn’t able to get out of my head last year. I didn’t mind. Because this song feels so genuine and it is such a fantastic showcase of her talent as a singer.

Best Performance by a Voice Actor in a Gaming Experience

Alex Chen in Life is Strange: True Colors — Photo: Square Enix.
  • Erika Mori – ‘Alex Chen’ – Life is Strange: True Colors

I really loved this game, and I think Alex’s story was really fascinating. Mori did a good job of bringing her to life in what is arguably the best Life is Strange game yet.

Game of the Year

  • Forza Horizon 5 – Playground Games – XBox Game Studios

The Forza games top themselves again and again. Forza Horizon 5 looks incredible and is just a wildly fun racing game. I will be very impressed if they can top themselves once more.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Superhero Film or Television Show

  • Willem Dafoe – Spider-Man: No Way Home.

From my review:

“The wildly entertaining and undeniably satisfying No Way Home has the best Tom Holland Spider-Man performance yet, and also features a pitch-perfect performance from returning star Willem Dafoe.”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Superhero Film or Television Show

Elizabeth Olsen in WandaVision — Photo: Disney+.
  • Elizabeth Olsen – WandaVision.

From my review of WandaVision: Previously On:

“This is easily the best performance that Elizabeth Olsen has ever given in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it should earn her, at the very least, an Emmy nomination. The way she communicates her character’s grief, as well as her joy in seeing her lost loved ones again is so impressive.”

Superhero Film of the Year

MJ (played by Zendaya) and Peter Parker/Spider-Man (played by Tom Holland) trying to escape the public eye in Spider-Man: No Way Home — Photo: Matt Kennedy / Sony Pictures.
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home – Sony

From my review:

“I will say that it is not just the best superhero movie I’ve seen in 2021, I also think it’s one of the very best Spider-Man films.”

Best Supporting Performance by an Actor or Actress in a Television Show

Kieran Culkin in Succession — Photo: HBO.
  • Kieran Culkin – Succession.

From my review:

“Kieran Culkin […] really gives an awards-worthy performance. […] Culkin, who plays a wildly screwy character, shows new sides of himself and his character, and he is particularly fantastic and nuanced in the episode “Chiantishire.””

Best New TV-Show

Hamish Linklater in Midnight Mass — Photo: Netflix.
  • Midnight Mass – Netflix.

From my review:

“One of the best shows of the year, Mike Flanagan’s evidently deeply personal Midnight Mass is yet another fantastic horror-focused project from a rising master of horror. His series clearly evokes Stephen King, but also other unmistakable influences. It has some great hidden delights for genre-fans, but the thing about Midnight Mass that I love the most is that Flanagan has made a truly terrific horror show that somehow still, in pivotal moments, has the ability to feel comforting without, to me, ever feeling hokey. Now, that takes a special talent.”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Show

Sarah Snook, left, and Jeremy Strong, right, in Succession: Season Three — Photo: HBO.
  • Jeremy Strong – Succession.

Jeremy Strong has, to me, been one of the great surprises of Succession. While I had definitely seen him in films prior to the first season of Succession, it was the HBO show that made me notice him and his talent. With every season he continues to add new things to our understanding of his character, and his performance has such nuance and feels so genuine. He always stands out in a positive way. In the third season, his character went through a lot, and Strong had some extraordinary scenes with Brian Cox, Sarah Snook, and Kieran Culkin that I still think about now months after I first saw them. In the third season, his character, among other things, gets to open up to his siblings, and it might be one of the best scenes of the series.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Show

Sarah Snook, left, and Jeremy Strong, right, in Succession: Season Three — Photo: HBO.
  • Sarah Snook – Succession.

Snook doesn’t always get the credit that she deserves. Like with Culkin, often her character doesn’t feel as pivotal as Cox and Strong’s characters, but she never hits a false note. Snook taps into something really interesting when she plays this character, and I think she is fantastic in this third season. I’m fascinated to see where she goes in the fourth season, because I think she may get the opportunity to go in a new direction with her character.

Best Performance by a Cast in a Television Show

Matthew Macfadyen as Tom Wambsgans in Succession: Season Three, Episode Nine, “All The Bells Say,” — Photo: Graeme Hunter / HBO.
  • Succession – HBO.

From the biggest to the smallest role, Succession is just filled to the brim with great actors who deliver the exact kinds of performances the show needs. We all talk about the Roy siblings and Brian Cox all the time, but there are so many other outstanding supporting performances in the third season. Alexander Skarsgård is a nice surprise, Matthew Macfadyen has never been better on this show, I could go on and on. There is no weak link in the Succession cast.

Television Episode of the Year

“For All Mankind,” now streaming on Apple TV+ — Photo: Apple TV+.
  • “The Grey,” – For All Mankind.

Believe it or not, this was a really difficult choice to make. It’s probably the TV category that I had the most trouble with making a decision in. Four episodes of Succession were nominated, but I struggled to pick a favorite between the four. But, as you can see, none of them won. I guess you could say they canceled each other out in this category. I ended up going with this incredible episode of For All Mankind for multiple reasons. First of all, like I wrote in my review, it is breathtaking, tense, and surprisingly moving. But I also think this was a good opportunity for me to highlight and recommend a relatively hidden gem on Apple TV+. For All Mankind is fantastic, and this is the best episode of the entire series thus far.

Television Show of the Year

Matthew Macfadyen as Tom Wambsgans in Succession: Season Three, Episode Nine, “All The Bells Say,” — Photo: Graeme Hunter / HBO.
  • Succession – HBO.

So, yeah, you probably saw this coming as the show kept on winning award after award. Frankly, I think Midnight Mass is the only show that ever got close to it in 2021. The third season of Succession did not disappoint at all. It keeps on improving upon itself, like I wrote in my review. To be perfectly honest, this was the easiest decision in the television category, because Succession is just that good.

Unforgettable Television Quote of the Year

Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen in WandaVision — Photo: Disney+.
  • “Well, because it can’t all be sorrow, can it? I’ve always been alone, so I don’t feel the lack. It’s all I’ve ever known. I’ve never experienced loss because I have never had a loved one to lose. But what is grief, if not love persevering?” – WandaVision: Previously On.

From my review of WandaVision: Previously On:

“As Wanda watches Malcolm in the Middle, Vision walks in and they start to discuss her crippling grief. Vision comforts her with an emotionally resonant line of dialogue that is sure to be his most memorable quote in the MCU: “But what is grief, if not love persevering.””

Television Legend Award

  • Jonathan BanksActor.

Above I’ve attached a link to Jonathan Banks’ unforgettable confessional monologue from Better Call Saul. I think it is such a gripping and moving monologue and it is one of the show’s best moments. At the heart of it — performing the lines — is Jonathan Banks, a six-time Supporting Actor Emmy nominee in the Drama-category (for Wiseguy, Breaking Bad, and Better Call Saul). That he hasn’t won an Emmy yet is shocking. His television credits are incredible. Other than his performances in the Gilligan-verse, he has appeared in shows like Community, Parks and Rec, Modern Family, ER, Dexter, Matlock, and so much more going back all the way to 1976. He deserves so much more credit for his career than he has gotten, so it makes me really happy to make him one of my Television Legends.

The nominations for the remaining Film Awards will be revealed: February 13th 2022.

My annual Top Ten Films of the Year-list for 2021 will be revealed: Mid/Late-February 2022.

– Article Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.

One thought on “9th I’m Jeffrey Rex Awards, Pt. I – 2021

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