Views from the Sofa is 9 Years Old today! As has become tradition, we always use our birthday to look back at the past year and give some awards based on the movies we have viewed and reviewed within that year. These awards are for all the movies watched, not just those released in 2020 (although this has its own category too) so uniquely, movies from different eras can go up against each other. That means 1917 going up against Erin Brockovich or Austin Powers up against Borat.
This year has been a weird one for movie watching, not just with cinemas closed but because my time has been less my own so shockingly I only watched 75 films this year! I will beat that target next year!
Best Actor 2020
Nominees: Robert De Niro (The Irishman), Song Kang Ho (Parasite), George Mackay (1917), Adam Driver (Marriage Story), Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems)
Winner: Adam Driver (Marriage Story)
The beginning of the year I watched the Oscar contenders I had missed from 2019. This meant I saw some powerhouse performances but none more so than Adam Driver that makes you feel all the anger, sadness and even humour that his character experiences in Marriage Story.
Best Actress 2020
Nominees: Natalie Portman (JoJo Rabbit and Marriage Story), Saoirse Ronan (Little Women), Florence Pugh (Midsommar), Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Aisling Franciosi (The Nightingale)
Winner: Aisling Franciosi (The Nightingale)
Natalie Portman would have won for both her roles in JoJo Rabbit and Marriage Story that I saw this year but Aisling Franciosi delivers a raw, unparalleled performances which is altogether uncomfortable but compelling. The role asks her to undergo extreme scenes but she holds her own in a brutal story.
Best Director 2020
Nominees; Christopher Nolan (Inception), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Sam Mendes (1917), Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story), Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction)
Winner: Sam Mendes (1917)
I saw two “classics” this year in Inception and Pulp Fiction, one technically amazing and the other a masterwork in writing. 1917 manages to make the unbroken take more than just a technical gimmick, making the movie feel urgent, claustrophobic, real and gritty. It is a fantastic movie anyway but when you consider some of the scenes staged as unbroken takes, Mendes deserves it against the other more classic choices.
Best Documentary watched and reviewed in 2020
Nominees; Hail Satan!, Miss Americana, This is It
Winner: This is It
Not a stellar year for documentary watching at Views from the Sofa and I only watched 3 all year! None of them were ground-breaking or extraordinary but the Michael Jackson tour documentary (for the tour that never was) had just enough to give it the prize.
Best Animated film Viewed and Reviewed in 2020
Nominees; Frozen 2, Spirited Away, Toy Story 4,
Winner: Frozen 2
I know this will be sacrilege to many but I don’t like Spirited Away and I struggle with the Ghibli studio’s output. Not that I had much to compare it to this year with just two other animated films to choose from but Frozen 2 did enough to build on the first film with a very good story and better songs while Toy story 4 was strong but didn’t hold up against the first three.
Best Film Released in 2020
Nominees: Wonder Woman 1984, Tenet, The Invisible Man, Birds of Prey, Borat’s Subsequent Moviefilm,
I saw very few movies that were actually released in 2020. Of those, only two actually stood out as proper contenders, and they were The Invisible Man and the actual winner, Tenet. Nolan delivers a spy movie as well as a time-travel twisting plot which is very clever. An intelligent blockbuster with some great performances.
Best Film Viewed and Reviewed in 2020
Nominees: Parasite, 1917, The Matrix, Inception, Pulp Fiction,
I finally reviewed three incredible, classic movies in Inception, The Matrix and Pulp Fiction but Parasite was a film like no other this year. It was a movie which had great performances, twisted plot point and took you on a journey. Terrifically written and directed, it pipped the others but only just.
Worst Film Viewed and Reviewed in 2020
Nominees: Impractical Jokers The Movie, Streetcar Named Desire, Spirited Away, Hairspray, Ma
I was very lucky not to see that many films I disliked this year but Ma was one which was poorly written, poorly staged and just didn’t live up to the expectation which a horror performance from Octavia Spencer could have delivered. (I know including Spirited Away will shock some but I just don’t get it).
Most Anticipated Movie of 2021
Nominees; Ghostbusters Afterlife, No Time to Die, A Quiet Place 2, Spider-Man 3, The Matrix 4
Winner: Ghostbusters: Afterlife
A lot of great movies were pushed back to 2021 (and still could be pushed again) but of those that were, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is the film I am most looking forward to. A film that could be both a proper sequel to the 1980’s classics and a new reboot of one of my favourite movie series.
Overall, a year in which I saw the fewest amount of movies since I started the site 9 years ago. This year will be different, with me having grand plans to see at least 120 movies (!). Let me know your thoughts on the best you saw last year too.