2020 Leaman Awards - The Part-Time Critic

Monday, June 20, 2022

2020 Leaman Awards

*Last Updated 6/23/2022  

In favor of waiting until I've seen absolutely everything (a bottomless task), I've decided to take a "running list" mentality to the awards. I've got many projects and only so much time so I've just decided to post the awards once I hit a critical mass, mention what I haven't seen and then update them as I (re)watch more 2020 films over time. You can see the last time I've updated it at the top. To help get the projects done, commentary might be light as well - mostly graphics and winners. Enjoy!

2020 Films Seen: 71
Number of Films with A or A+ Grade: 2
Key Films Still to See: La Llorona, Shaun the Sheep Movie, Wolfwalkers, City Hall, Blood On Her Name, Pieces of a Woman, Another Round, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Jiu Jitsu, Time to Hunt, Athlete A

Brief Summary: n/a
Not a "best of" list or a "favorite" list - but a list of the films and sequences (action, drama, comedy, & musical) that I think represent the best the year had to offer. So think of it as a strange mixture of favorite, best, and defining. Once you get to the top ten films, it definitely becomes more defined as a Top Ten list of the year. The number one film is my favorite of the year. 

Honorable Mentions: Alone, The Christmas Chronicles Part Two, Enola Holmes, On the Rocks, The Rhythm Section

25. Palm Springs (B-)
24. News of the World (B-)
23. Desert One (B)
22. Bill & Ted Face the Music (B)
21. The Last Full Measure (B)
20. The Croods 2; A New Age (B)
19. One Night in Miami... (B)
18. Miss Juneteenth (B)
17. Tenet (B)
16. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (B)
15. Emma (B+)
14. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (B+)
13. The Way Back (B+)
12. Bad Education (B+)
11. Mank (B+)

THE TOP TEN
10. Judas and the Black Messiah (B+)
9. Nomadland (B+)
8. Extraction (B+)
7. The Father (A-)
6. Greyhound (A-)
5. Minari (A-)
4. The Invisible Man (A-)
3. The Outpost (A-)
2. Hamilton (A)

1. Sound of Metal (A)
Commentary: n/a



FAVORITE ACTION SEQUENCES OF THE YEAR
The Very Good:
  • "Finale: Bridge Battle for the Boy" -Extraction
  • "Finale: Brother and Sister vs. Yayan Ruhia" -Wira
  • "Finale: Returning the Car Through Roadblocks & Fire" -Lost Bullet
  • "Inverted Estonian Plutonium Heist" -Tenet
  • "Lino Fights His Way Out of Jail" -Lost Bullet
  • "Tangier Escape: Car Chase to Escape First Assassination" -The Rhythm Section
  • "Locker Room Fight: Three vs. One" -Welcome to Sudden Death
The Great:
  • "Greyhound and Dicky Take On a U-Boat Together" -Greyhound
  • "Battle for Outpost Keating" -The Outpost
The Best: "Dhaka Survival Mode Chase: Extraction Goes Sour" -Extraction
Commentary: Chris Hemsworth plays Tyler Rake, an extraction expert. He’s hired to get back the kidnapped teen boy named Ovi in the city of Dhaka, which he accomplishes. However, once he gets to his extraction point on the shores of a river, there’s a problem – another trained assassin is picking off his team and hunting to get the boy back. There’s a small standoff in the woods, but once Tyler and Ovi make it back to their car the chase kicks off properly. From the moment it begins you can tell there is something different about this chase. First, there’s a commitment to make the entire sequence look like one take. Yes, there are obvious cut points, but that’s not the goal here – the goal is to put you immediately in the action from beginning to end. To that end, the camera is free to move inside the car, outside the car, float over and change its focus to other characters. The car chase sequence phase feels new as not only is much of it filmed well with some nice destruction and skilled stunts, but the camera moves seamlessly and always gives a good sense of geography – even during exposition scenes. It’s hard to even see the visual effects here to be honest. If the floating camera in The Raid II’s car chase sequence was interesting, this is a flat out marvel. After a key wreck, Tyler goes into “survival mode” and the chase enters a second phase on foot as they try to escape through a maze of apartment complexes with police and the assassin in tow. This leads to some excellent tactical shootouts and fights. The style here is like John Wick (the director is a veteran of that series) but more utilitarian and a little less showy. The third phase is when they are re-acquired by the assassin on the second floor of the complex and a physical fight between them breaks. They struggle and go over the railing and down to the street below. It takes a while to get up and when they do it becomes a close quarter knife fight until Tyler is struck by a car in the street. The assassin acquires the boy but gets struck in return by a truck Tyler picks up. The final phase of the sequence is escaping the truck under a bridge to throw the bad guys off the trail. It’s an exhaustive sequence that feels like it takes its cues from the best Jason Bourne foot chase / car chase / fight extravaganzas and says, “I can one up that. I can combine your car stuff, foot stuff, and then add in John Wick shootouts and fights”. Crazy enough, they accomplish it all. It’s a sequence for the legend books.


FAVORITE DRAMATIC SEQUENCES OF THE YEAR
The Very Good:
  • “Trying to Share a Warning and Being Betrayed” -The Assistant
  • “Tassone Explains the Problem to a Student’s Mom” -Bad Education
  • “Paul’s PTSD is Triggered by a Pushy Chicken Salesman” -Da 5 Bloods
  • “A Witty Insult Ruins the Group Outing on Box Hill & Induces Humility” -Emma.
  • “Presidential Alert: Picked for Shelter Among Neighbors” -Greenland
  • “Opening: Hunting, Killing, and Confirming a Single U-Boat” -Greyhound
  • “Decisions: Survivors in the Water or a Boat in Distress?” -Greyhound
  • “Framed for a Murder in a Public Restaurant” -The Invisible Man
  • “Chairman Fred’s Welcome Back Speech” -Judas and the Black Messiah
  • “A Silent Phone Call of Thank You” -The Last Full Measure
  • “Vietnam War Memorial Breakdown” -The Last Full Measure
  • “Dinner: Blackledges and Weboys Meet” -Let Him Go
  • “Levee Tells the Story of His Father” -Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • “Grandma Arrives in Arkansas” -Minari
  • “Story of the Men of Keel Run Told in Erath County” -News of the World
  • “Letting his Brother Say Goodbye to His Father” -Onward
  • “Finale: I Didn’t Save Him” -The Outpost
  • “Next Step of Training: One Take Impromptu Fight” -The Rhythm Section
  • “Opening: Day Two Without Sound” -Sound of Metal
  • “Finale: It’s okay – Sitting and Accepting” -Sound of Metal
  • “Returning to the Airport Freeport” -Tenet
  • “Beating Memorial: Telling Brandon to Take the Last Shot” -The Way Back
  • “Finale: Making Amends and Shooting Hoops on the Shore” -The Way Back
The Great:
  • “Opening: Escaping the House” -The Invisible Man
  • “Finale: I Want My Mommy” -The Father
  • “Pride of Georgia…Not Allowed in the House” -One Night in Miami…
The Best: “Deafness is Not a Disability – You Need to Leave” -Sound of Metal
Commentary: 


FAVORITE COMEDIC SEQUENCES OF THE YEAR
Not a category I kept good track of - One of the toughest TBH
The Very Good:
  • "Play JaJa Ding Dong" -Eurovision Song Content: The Fire Saga
  • “Smooth Moves Across the Dance Floor" -Palm Springs
  • "Montage: Having Fun with Multiple Lives - 80's Bar Dance" Palm Springs
The Great:
  • n/a
The Best: n/a


FAVORITE MUSICAL SEQUENCES OF THE YEAR
The Very Good:
  • "My Shot" -Hamilton
  • “The World Was Wide Enough" -Hamilton
The Great:
  • “Non-Stop" -Hamilton
  • "One Last Time" -Hamilton
The Best: “Satisfied" -Hamilton
Commentary: n/a


BEST DIRECTOR
Nominees:
  • Lee Isaac Chung Minari
  • David Fincher Mank
  • Shaka King Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Rod Lurie The Outpost
  • Darius Marder Sound of Metal

FAVORITE FILM ENSEMBLE
Nominees:
  • Bad Education
  • Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
  • Minari
  • One Night in Miami...
  • Sound of Metal

FAVORITE MALE PERFORMANCES
Nominees:
  • Riz Ahmed Sound of Metal
  • Chadwick Boseman Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
  • Anthony Hopkins The Father
  • William Hurt The Last Full Measure
  • Hugh Jackman Bad Education
  • Daniel Kaluuya Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Caleb Landry Jones The Outpost
  • Bill Murray On the Rocks
  • Gary Oldman Mank
  • Jesse Plemens Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Paul Rici Sound of Metal
  • LaKeith Stanfield Judas and the Black Messiah

FAVORITE FEMALE PERFORMANCES
Nominees:
  • Nicole Beharie Miss Juneteenth
  • Olivia Colman The Father
  • Olivia Cooke Sound of Metal
  • Viola Davis Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
  • Yeri Han Minari
  • Allison Janney Bad Education
  • Lesley Manville Let Him Go
  • Frances McDormand Nomadland
  • Cristin Milioti Palm Springs
  • Elizabeth Moss The Invisible Man
  • Amanda Seyfried Mank
  • Yuh-jung Youn Minari

FAVORITE SCREENPLAY 
(original or adapted)
Nominees:
  • Bad Education
  • The Father
  • The Invisible Man
  • Greyhound
  • Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Mank
  • Minari
  • Nomadland
  • The Outpost
  • Palm Springs
  • Sound of Metal
  • The Trial of Chicago 7

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Nominees:
  • Desert One
  • Dick Johnson is Dead
Commentary: A nicely made documentary on the 1979-1980 Iran hostage crisis, with the primary emphasis being on the failed military rescue from April 1980. The documentary lays out the context well, gives perspectives from most all the major players (a must in these kinds of documentaries), and provides insight into their thinking. I wish it was a bit more reflective about special operations in general and how reliable they are - but it's just not that kind of documentary. That said, for anyone looking for a good and engaging education about the event, this would be a good place to turn.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Nominees:
  • The Croods 2: A New Age
  • Onward
  • Soul

BEST FILM EDITING
Nominees:
  • Extraction
  • The Father
  • The Outpost
  • Palm Springs
  • The Sound of Metal
  • Tenet

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Nominees:
  • The Assistant
  • The Invisible Man
  • Mank
  • Nomadland
  • The Outpost

BEST ART DIRECTION
Nominees:
  • Mank
  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
  • The Outpost
  • Tenet
  • Underwater

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Nominees:
  • The Invisible Man
  • Greyhound
  • Monster Hunter
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Tenet

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Nominees:
  • Emma.
  • The Invisible Man
  • Greyhound
  • Let Him Go
  • Mank
  • Minari
  • News of the World
  • Soul
  • Tenet

BEST SOUND DESIGN
Nominees:
  • Alone
  • The Invisible Man
  • Greyhound
  • The Outpost
  • The Sound of Metal

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Nominees:
  • Emma.
  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
  • Mank
  • News of the World
  • Underwater 

BEST MAKE-UP & HAIR DESIGN
Nominees:
  • Emma.
  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
  • Mank
  • Mulan
  • News of the World

BIGGEST GUILTY PLEASURE
Nominees:
  • Bloodshot
  • Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
  • The Trip to Greece

MOST SURPRISING FILM
Nominees:
  • Bill & Ted Face the Music
  • The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two
  • Extraction
  • The Invisible Man
  • The Outpost

MOST DISAPPOINTING FILM
Nominees:
  • The Gentlemen
  • The Impractical Jokers: The Movie
  • Let Him Go
  • Tenet
  • Wonder Woman 1984

MOST UNDERRATED FILM
Nominees:
  • Greyhound
  • The Last Full Measure
  • The Outpost
  • The Rhythm Section

MOST OVERRATED FILM
Nominees:
  • Birds of Prey
  • Da 5 Bloods
  • First Cow
  • Greenland
  • Let Him Go

WORST FILM
Nominees:
  • Capone 
  • Dolittle
  • Greenland
  • Impractical Jokers: The Movie
  • Wonder Woman 1984

BEST COMPILATION OF WORK
Nominees:
  • Chadwick Boseman (Da 5 Bloods, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom)

ERIC BANA AWARD
*Given for the best performance in a bad film (See 2004's Troy)
Nominees:
  • Colin Farrell The Gentlemen
  • Martin Lawrence Bad Boys for Life
  • Pedro Pascal Wonder Woman 1984
  • Guy Pearce Bloodshot


THE END!


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