By Josh Parham
You know it and I know it: 2020 was a year full of challenges. I am not the first person to make this observation, and I guarantee I will not be the last. With such hardships felt throughout all these long months, the great escape is often fleeing into the diverse world of cinema. Of course, that presented its own difficulties when a majority of theaters closed due to safety concerns. It seemed hopeless for some time as release dates got pushed back and highly anticipated titles vanished. However, that was never an invitation to stop seeking out great storytelling being presented, and while this year may have looked very different, there was no shortage of great works to enjoy. You've already seen others give their top ten lists of 2020, and now I'd like to present you mine.
Here are a few honorable mentions: "Black Bear," "Miss Juneteenth," "Promising Young Woman," "Soul" and "The Lodge."
By Daniel Howat
This is where I write the obligatory opening paragraph about how weird and terrible 2020 was. Well, it's true. It was a long, stressful, and bizarre year without the release of seeing movies in theaters (for the most part). And yet, this year was still full of phenomenal films, even without those that were postponed. Watching so many films exclusively at home has its pros and cons, but there was still a great hole in my heart for the theatrical experience. I only went to the movie theater 12 times this year and none of those films made it into my top ten. So many movies this year took on new meaning, perhaps even unintended, as they released into a year so full of chaos, injustice, and unrest. This was a landmark year for the film industry and myself personally in many ways, and I think this list of my ten favorite films of 2020 reflects that.
Honorable mentions include: "Minari," "The Invisible Man," "News of the World," "Mank," and "Palm Springs."
By Will Mavity
Long Takes, aka. "One-takes." They're very difficult to accomplish and typically very cool to look at. We entered 2020 watching "1917," a film comprised entirely of long-takes, so perhaps it was fitting that 2020 was a year featuring more films with long-takes in films than almost any I can remember. Some are more essential to the story than others. Some are more dynamic than others. They nearly all stop the film in its tracks, making you wonder, "Wow...I wonder how many takes it took them to do that?" Based on a combination of factors - impact on the film, difficulty of execution, how cool it is to look at, etc.
Here is my ranking of all of 2020's "long-takes" I've seen.
By Amanda Spears
If you're like me, then you're surviving COVID-19 in a city where going to the movie theater is not an option – making television more crucial than ever. Below is my list of the top 10 television series of 2020. To iron out some ground rules, the series must have aired to make the list in its entirety during 2020. For example, this disqualified "The Good Place."
By Kaiya Shunyata
While 2020 has been scarcer than usual regarding the year's film slate, there still have been films that have impacted viewers, whether in theaters when things were still normal or at home when the COVID-19 pandemic arose. Along with these films comes the music that is paired with them. From thunderous synths to a brand new Mitski track, the films of 2020 had some memorable music moments: here are ten of them.
By Danilo Castro
New Year's Eve is a time of change. It's a time of reflection, frustration, and correction. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. Good because it shakes us out of our routine and emboldens us to voice how we truly feel, and bad because it may lead to moments that can be awkward to live down the following day. The best New Year's movies capture this electric feeling. Whether they be tawdry or tragic, the movies that incorporate New Year's into the plot are tapping into an intensity that the rest of the year can't really match.
So, with 2020 firmly in our rearview, we thought it'd be the perfect time to forget all acquaintances and highlight these ten special films. We excluded films that are only tangentially related to New Year's, so gems like "Phantom Thread" (2017) and "The Apartment" (1960) did not crack the list.
Here are the 10 best New Year's Eve films...
By Matt Neglia
What a bizarre year. Who could have ever predicted that 2020, the start of a new decade, would be the year that the movie industry would change forever? Despite starting the year saying that I wanted to watch fewer movies in 2020 than I had in previous years so I could focus on other projects for the website, I still found myself watching over 225 movies thanks to digital screeners and constantly being at home during quarantine. I'm not complaining, though! There were some genuinely great films to be seen in 2020, even if some of my most anticipated of the year got pushed back to 2021. I saw some films in 2020 that were supposed to have release dates this year, which have been moved to 2021 but are still qualifying for the end of the year awards. For this list, I'm not going to get caught up in "the rules" of what makes a 2020 movie vs. what makes a 2021 movie. This is my list of what was (for me) the best films of 2020.
Runners up include: "Another Round," "Dick Johnson Is Dead," "The Dissident," "Quo Vadis, Aida?" & "Wolfwalkers."
By Bianca Garner
An effective horror film won’t simply just use jump scares, gory special effects and men in monster costumes to scare the living daylights out of us. In order to leave the viewer with nightmares, a filmmaker will need to utilize every aspect of the mise-en-scene, from the cinematography to the performances from the actors. We can all agree that film is indeed a visual medium, but it’s important not to overlook the importance of sound and music in filmmaking, especially when it comes to the horror genre. Some of cinema’s most iconic scores belong to horror, whether it be Bernard Herrmann’s shirking violins from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” (1960) or John Carpenter’s score for “Halloween” (1978).
By Danilo Castro
Body horror is a form of cinema that picks at the base of all human fears: physicality. Every living person shudders at the thought of catching an illness, losing mobility, or feeling body parts shut down. These experiences are more disturbing than a serial killer with a hacksaw because they are inescapable. We can never outrun the decomposition of our own mortal form.
These primal fears have been exacerbated by COVID-19. We have never been as keenly aware of our health and the health of others as we are in 2020, which makes the recent body horror flick, “Possessor,” all the more upsetting. Brandon Cronenberg’s sophomore film coincides with the Halloween season, so we decided to put our hazmat suits on and revisit the body horror titles that have left the biggest impression (and the worst scars).
Here are the 10 best body horror films of all time!
By Matt Neglia
2020 started off with a historic moment when "Parasite" won the Oscar for Best Picture and then COVID-19 happened, shutting down movie theaters across the country. As a result, the movies we have received in 2020 have mostly been independents that were going straight to VOD, smaller movies that the studios were willing to release to streaming or the usual studio-fare we get during the January-March time period (which is traditionally the weakest quarter of the year in terms of quality). Despite all of this, the NBP Team managed to compile all of their Top 10 lists into one mega Top 20 list for the best films of 2020 so far as we enter into the second half and hopefully, theaters will eventually re-open.
By Amanda Spears
With the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ continued effort to expand the diversity of their membership, they have decided once again to have ten nominees for Best Picture; dropping the rolling scale based on number one votes. What would have been the 10th, and in some cases, the ninth or 10th films nominated? Would it have led to a more diverse set of nominees or just more of the same?
By Lauren LaMagna
As coronavirus continues and the world participates in social activism demanding change, some of us still need a temporary reprieve through the movies. If we're not out protesting in the streets, we're at home looking for the next thing to watch. With social distancing still in effect, you might be running out of movies to watch to entertain yourself. With all the content on a countless amount of streaming services, it can be hard to find what movie speaks to you. The latest 2020 films, classics, streaming service originals, but what about documentaries? Documentaries can highlight history, whether its in the past or if it's happening right now. Here’s a list of ten documentaries on streaming services that you should check out right now.
By Rebecca Daniel
We’re almost at the halfway point of the year. (How did that happen?!) Days have turned to weeks and weeks into months. With June on the horizon, and movie theaters still shut down until (at least) July, the beginning of the summer movie season looks very different in 2020. That doesn’t mean audiences won’t have films to watch this month. Netflix, Hulu, and Video on Demand services are stepping up to make sure there are still movies to kick off the summer movie season. Let’s take a look at what movies will be available to watch at home in June!
By Dan Bayer
Welcome, film lovers! I don’t know about you, but I don’t think my kitchen has ever gotten quite as much of a workout as it has over the past couple of months. And given the rise of community cookbooks and #Instafood posts over that time, it seems like the same is true for quite a lot of people. Some people are in need of the comfort that old family recipes and childhood favorites provide. For others, the mandate to stay at home means that there is finally time to try all those crazy recipes that looked so mouthwatering on “Top Chef” or “The Great British Baking Show”. And for a few, the lack of delivery options means having to figure out what exactly the difference is between a chop and a dice, or how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon. Whatever your level of proficiency in the kitchen, I can guarantee that you will enjoy watching films about food. And it’s not just the impossibly delicious looking meals that you’ll savor, but the heaping portions of emotions that go with them. As always, we’ve restricted the film festival programming to what is available for free on the big three streaming services, so as to make it accessible to as many people as possible.
By Jed Wells
It’s now been one week since the conclusion of ESPN’s "The Last Dance," and while the documentary finished with a cathartic NBA championship, back in the real world there is still a ways to go before the return of the NBA. With professional sports suspended indefinitely in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, "The Last Dance" gave sports fans a chance to return to the world of sports. So now, as "The Last Dance" draws to a close, many sports fans are left wondering where and when they can get their next hit of sports. With this in mind, here are five basketball documentaries to fix your "The Last Dance" cravings.
By Casey Lee Clark
One of the few silver linings of our current situation is that many of us have more free time to watch movies. Perhaps finally catch up on films that have long been on our watchlist or recommendations of films we wouldn’t typically gravitate towards. I would be the first person to suggest people go out of their comfort zone to watch a classic or older film, and there are a fair amount of them available on various streaming services if you look hard enough. While there are, of course, more niche film streaming services with plenty of older films available in their catalog (Criterion Channel, Mubi, Shudder, Kanopy, etc.), it can be harder to find more pre-90s films on major streaming services. I raved and recommended the Criterion Channel in my first NBP blog post this time last year, so I will keep my suggestions from them to a minimum (though I do still highly recommend the service and think it has only gotten better). While their catalog does change very frequently, Amazon Prime is probably the best mainstream service to find older classic film gems, either free with Prime or fairly cheap to rent. Netflix’s classic film catalog is fairly slim and rarely can you find films older than 1980, but it varies month to month and you can occasionally find a few good ones.
By Danilo Castro
Tom Hardy is an anomaly. He’s a character actor disguised as a sex symbol and an indie darling with blockbuster credentials. He’s the reluctant superhero and the vengeful super-villain. He’s the everyman and the madman. In an era where Hollywood has all but retired the movie star model, he’s become the heir to fearless leading men like Marlon Brando, Paul Newman, and Robert De Niro. No part is too small, and no voice is too strange.
Hardy’s latest film, “Capone,” adds another colorful rogue to his gallery, as he portrays the eponymous gangster at the end of his life. With that in mind, we decided to look back at Hardy’s impressive career and pinpoint his best film performances. Some were left off due to the actor’s limited screen time, so masterful turns in “Inception” (2010) and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (2011) will have to suffice as honorable mentions.
Here are the 10 performances that made the list...
By Rebecca Daniel
It’s a tough world out there right now. Between coronavirus, quarantine, and stress about the state of the world, every day can be anxiety-inducing. Finding just the right movie to watch can help take your mind off of some of the chaos for a few hours. But how do you find just the right one? I’m here to help. One of my favorite genres to watch during this time of chaos and quarantine is the coming-of-age film. The genre has so many movies full of heart, angst, and a great soundtrack. The next ten films are just a few coming-of-age picks that Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu have to offer.
By Tom O'Brien
It's been a tough 2020 so far. It seems that we're just done with impeachment, barely have had time to take a breath, and now we have to deal with the Coronavirus, a plague the likes of which none of us have faced in our lifetimes. “March Madness” and almost every other sport have canceled or postponed all of their games; museums all over the country have shuttered; movie theaters are dark; all Broadway shows have had to temporarily close and some may never reopen. Ultimately, even with all the closings and the sacrifices that fans will make, the Coronavirus will eventually pass. But we will always have politics.
To that point, we have just concluded a fierce campaign among Democrats as to who will challenge Donald Trump to be the next President of the United States. With the departure of Bernie Sanders from the race, the path has now been cleared for Joe Biden to become the Democratic nominee to go head-to-head with Trump for the presidency. With 29 Democratic candidates having joined the race at one time or another, it's been a dramatic primary campaign, with twists and turns around every corner. It's little wonder that election stories hold enormous appeal in both films and television.
HBO, in particular, has done great TV work with election stories, from 2008's "Recount," 2012's "Game Change" and the best of all, Robert Altman's mockumentary miniseries, "Tanner '88,” in which Jack Tanner (Michael Murphy), a fictional candidate, actually campaigns side by side with such real political figures as Bob Dole, Gary Hart, Pat Robertson, and Jesse Jackson, all of whom treat Tanner as a genuine colleague. For this article, however, I'd like to concentrate on feature films.
By Lauren LaMagna
As March nears a close, with an international pandemic and the film industry coming to a sudden halt, as well as with the rest of the major cities around the world, it can be hard to take your mind off of these crazy events. But March, no matter the events, is still Women's History Month and can be perfectly celebrated by watching your favorite female-centric films during self-isolation. I asked the Next Best Picture staff to list some of their favorites. In no particular order, here are some of Next Best Picture's favorite female-centric films.
By Danilo Castro
Fictional pandemics have always been a fertile source of inspiration for Hollywood. They tap into primal fears like death and isolation, while simultaneously bringing out the best and worst that mankind has to offer. Coronavirus has manifested some of these fears in real life, and while it hasn’t wrought the damage of a Hollywood pandemic (thankfully), it has inspired many to sit down and watch films that speak to the current climate.
We've been reviewing pandemic movies on the podcast every week starting with "28 Days Later," then "Contagion" and soon to follow with more! So, with an indefinite amount of quarantine time ahead, we decided to snap on some rubber gloves, sift through the case files, and compile a list of the ten best pandemic thrillers and infection-based films ever made.
By Josh Parham
With everything happening in the world right now, escaping into cinema feels more important than ever. However, with movie theaters across the planet closing their doors in the hopes of limiting the spread of this pandemic, many of us have been forced to stay in and be comforted by films that have already come out and can be viewed in our own living spaces. That fits perfectly with the NBP Film Community Nominations for the 2010s. Voting is still happening until March 21. To honor the community’s celebration of an entire decade of film, I’ve decided to share my top ten favorite movies of the previous ten years.
By Cody Dericks
Any avid movie watcher knows that consuming films sometimes involves performing a unique type of triage. We separate movies into “watch in theaters”, “watch at home” and “watch one day when I have a ton of free time”. Well, with a lot of us stuck at home in self-isolation, whether voluntary or not, it’s finally a good time to watch those movies we were saving for wisdom teeth recovery or an extreme blizzard. I’m here to help you narrow down your selection by showcasing some underseen movies from the last decade that you can stream at home. These movies won’t necessarily serve as a distraction from everything going on today; the only thing that unites them is that they are all readily available on streaming and are all excellent.
By Tom O'Brien
Ok. This is the last one. I promise. You've heard Top 10 lists for 2019 from Matt Neglia, Daniel Howat, Josh Parham, Ryan C. Showers, Cody Dericks, Kt Schaefer & Nicole Ackman and now I (for real this time) get to finish it all with my own list.
Of the 100+ films that I’ve saw last year, below are the ten which I feel most strongly, and it was only after I compiled them that I realized that half were either starring, were written by or directed by women. Yes, women in film aren’t getting the opportunities that they should be and that continues to be a problem in contemporary Hollywood, but it's not for want of doing great work. Let's give all ten (and a few honorable mentions) the chance for a moment to shine.
Honorable Mentions: "Pain and Glory," "John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum," "Uncut Gems," "The Last Black Man in San Francisco" & "Long Shot."
By Danilo Castro
For a cinematic landscape that remains dominated by shared universes and crossover events, it can be easy to forget that Universal Studios normalized the practice almost one hundred years ago. Between the 1920s and the 1950s, they released dozens of horror films that relied on the interplay between iconic characters like Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolf Man. At best they were considered genre classics, and at worst they were harmless camp that benefits from their communal mythology.
Universal has spent the past two decades trying to reimagine their monsters for the current generation, and the results have been mixed. There have been triumphs, there have been disasters, and there have been bizarre films that fall somewhere in the middle. Leigh Wannell’s “The Invisible Man” is the studio’s latest attempt, and it proves that there are still plenty of compelling stories to be pulled from these archaic templates.
With that in mind, here’s our ranking of the Universal monster remakes from worst to best. We are only counting remakes that were released by Universal or were explicitly meant to be part of a franchise, so films like “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” or “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” will not be counted.
Nomadland (15) - AWFJ, BOFCA, BSFC, CFCA, CIC, GOTHAM, GWNYFCA, HFCS, IFJA, NDFS, NSFC, SFBAFCC, StLFCA, TIFF, VENICE
Promising Young Woman (4) - COFCA, MCFCA, SCA, SDFCS
First Cow (2) - FFCC, NYFCC
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (3) - BFCC, CIC, PFCC
Minari (2) - NCFCA, OFCC
The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (2) - DFCS, HFCS
Another Round - EFA
Da 5 Bloods - CIC
Small Axe - LAFCA
Chloé Zhao (22) - AWFJ, BOFCA, BFCC, BSFC, CFCA, COFCA, DFCS, FFCC, GWNYFCA, HFCS, IFJA, LAFCA, MSFCA, NCFCA, NDFS, NSFC, NYFCC, OFCC, PFCC, SDFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Spike Lee (2) - CIC, HFCS
Regina King - BFCC
Darius Marder - SCA
Andrew Patterson - GOTHAM
Thomas Vinterberg - EFA
Frances McDormand (12) - AWFJ, BOFCA, CFCA, FFCC, GWNYFCA, HFCS, IFJA, NCFCA, NDFS, NSFC, OFCC, SFBAFCC
Carey Mulligan (7) - COFCA, DFCS, HFCS, LAFCA, MCFCA, SCA, SDFCS, StLFCA
Viola Davis (3) - BFCC, CIC, PFCC
Sidney Flanigan (2) - BSFC, NYFCC
Paula Beer - EFA
Nicole Beharie - GOTHAM
Chadwick Boseman (9) - AWFJ, BFCC, CFCA, CIC, DFCS, LAFCA, MSFCA, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Riz Ahmed (8) - COFCA, GOTHAM, GWNYFCA, HFCS, NDFS, OFCC, SCA, SDFCS
Delroy Lindo (7) - BOFCA, HFCS, IFJA, NCFCA, NSFC, NYFCC, PFCC
Anthony Hopkins (2) - BSFC, FFCC
Mads Mikkelsen - EFA
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Youn Yuh-jung (13) - AWFJ, BFCC, BSFC, COFCA, GWNYFCA, LAFCA, MCFCA, NCFCA, OFCC, SCA, SDFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Maria Bakalaova (10) - BOFCA, CFCA, CIC, FFCC, HFCS, IFJA, MCFCA, NDFS, NSFC, NYFCC
Ellen Burstyn - DFCS
Olivia Cooke - HFCS
Amanda Seyfried - PFCC
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Paul Raci (13) - BOFCA, BSFC, CFCA, COFCA, FFCC, GWNYFCA, HFCS, NSFC, OFCC, SCA, SDFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Sacha Baron Cohen (4) - DFCS, MCFCA, NCFCA, NDFS
Leslie Odom Jr. (4) - AWFJ, BFCC, HFCS, IFJA
Chadwick Boseman (3) - CIC, NYFCC, PFCC
Glynn Turman - LAFCA
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Nomadland (8) - AWFJ, CFCA, COFCA, GWNYFCA, HFCS, IFJA, NCFCA, OFCC
I'm Thinking Of Ending Things (4) - BOFCA, BSFC, FFCC, StLFCA
First Cow (3) - DFCS, PFCC, SFBAFCC
The Father (2) - SCA, SDFCS
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2) - BFCC, CIC
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Promising Young Woman (8) - AWFJ, CIC, COFCA, HFCS, LAFCA, NDFS, OFCC, StLFCA
Minari (5) - BFCC, FFCC, NCFCA, SDFCS, SFBAFCC
Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always (5) - CFCA, GWNYFCA, IFJA, NSFC, NYFCC
The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (4) - CIC, DFCS, HFCS, MCFCA
Another Round - EFA
The Forty-Year-Old-Version - GOTHAM
Fourteen - GOTHAM
Nomadland (15) - AWFJ, BOFCA, BSFC, CFCA, CIC, COFCA, GWNYFCA, HFCS, MCFCA, NCFCA, NDFS, NSFC, PFCC, SDFCS, StLFCA
Mank (3) - FFCC, OFCC, SCA
Small Axe (2) - LAFCA, NYFCC
Tenet (2) - BFCC, HFCS
First Cow - SFBAFCC
Hidden Away - EFA
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Emma. (2) - CFCA, SDFCS
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2) - CIC, HFCS
Hidden Away - EFA
BEST FILM EDITING
Nomadland (6) - AWFJ, BOFCA, GWNYFCA, NDFS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (4) - CIC, COFCA, HFCS, MCFCA
I'm Thinking Of Ending Things (2) - BSFC, CFCA
The Invisible Man (2) - MCFCA, SDFCS
The Father - LAFCA
Once More Unto The Breach - EFA
BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
The Endless Trench - EFA
Mank - HFCS
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom - CIC
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Soul (13) - BOFCA, CFCA, CIC, COFCA, DFCS, FFCC, GWNYFCA, HFCS, LAFCA, NCFCA, OFCC, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Tenet (3) - IFJA, MCFCA, SCA
Mank (2) - HFCS, NDFS
Berlin Alexanderplatz - EFA
Minari - BSFC
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
One Night In Miami (5) - CIC, DFCS, HFCS, HFCS, MCFCA
Over The Moon - NDFS
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Mank (9) - CFCA, CIC, FFCC, HFCS, LAFCA, MCFCA, NDFS, SDFCS, StLFCA
First Cow - SFBAFCC
The Personal History Of David Copperfield - EFA
Little Girl - EFA
Sound Of Metal - HFCS
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Tenet (6) - DFCS, HFCS, HFCS, NCFCA, SDFCS, StLFCA
The Invisible Man (2) - CFCA, CIC
The Platform - EFA
Possessor - FFCC
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Soul (15) - AWFJ, BFCC, CCA, CIC, DFCS, FFCC, HFCS, IFJA, MSFCA, NCFCA, NDFS, OFCC, PFCC, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Wolfwalkers (7) - BOFCA, CFCA, COFCA, GWNYFCA, LAFCA, NYFCC, SDFCS
Josep - EFA
The Wolf House - BSFC
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
Another Round (8) - AWFJ, CFCA, EFA, IFJA, MCFCA, NCFCA, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Minari (3) - COFCA, DFCS, GWNYFCA
Bacurau (2) - BOFCA, NYFCC
The Life Ahead (2) - HFCS, SDFCS
And Then We Danced - NDFS
A Sun - HFCS
Beanpole - LAFCA
Collective - NSFC
His House - CIC
Identifying Features - GOTHAM
Jumbo - PFCC
La Llorona - BSFC
Los Fuertes - FFCC
Martin Eden - OFCC
Night Of The Kings - BFCC
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Time (7) - BFCC, GOTHAM, GWNYFCA, LAFCA, NYFCC, PFCC, SDFCS
Dick Johnson Is Dead (5) - CCA, CFCA, COFCA, IFJA, NCFCA
Collective (4) - BSFC, EFA, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Boys State (3) - CIC, DFCS, OFCC
All In: The Fight For Democracy (2) - AWFJ, NDFS
The Painter And The Thief (2) - AWFJ, BOFCA
Beastie Boys Story - HFCS
Crip Camp - IDA
My Octopus Teacher - HFCS
The Social Dilemma - MCFCA
A Thousand Cuts - GOTHAM
You Don't Nomi - FFCC