Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: 2021

Monday, March 15, 2021

Best of 2020: The 11 Best Films(?) of the Year (and just a few months more)

by Tony Dayoub

The question mark in the post title is because some have taken issue with whether my nominee for best film of the year is actually a movie or not (as I'll address when discussing it below). But then the pandemic made this a strange year, right? This morning, the Oscar nominees were announced. Due to the shutdown of movie theaters this year, the Academy extended their eligibility window to include films released all the way through February 28, 2021 instead of the usual deadline of December 31st. Of course, the other unusual consideration is that pictures need not have played theatrically for at least one week in New York and Los Angeles as is typically the case in previous years. An unexpected byproduct of the shutdown has been that it has allowed viewers' attention to shift from the popular blockbusters (which saw their releases mostly postponed this past year) to the smaller independent films that are usually crowded out by these tentpole movies.

Surprisingly then, 2020 turned out to be a staggeringly great year for cinema, especially in the arena of documentaries, for people of color, and for women. There were so many good nonfiction works in 2020 as to make it difficult to process which are the most memorable. Many of the movies below, in fact most, are either made by or focus on women or people of color. The other weird wrinkle this year is that many of these films can be streamed from home. Whenever possible, the platform where each title can be streamed has been included in the interest of assisting you, dear reader, in finding the movie.

Here, for your consideration, are my top films of 2020 (and the beginning of 2021) followed by the winners of the respective critics' polls I participated in.