Nominations for the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the Critics Choice Awards have turned the likes of “Nomadland,” “Mank,” “Promising Young Woman,” “Minari,” “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “Ma Rainy’s Black Bottom,” and “Borat Subsequent Film” into major Oscar season contenders. What do all of these films also have in common? They were all selected as the best films of the year in IndieWire’s annual 2020 critics poll. Per tradition, IndieWire asked over 200 film critics around the world to rank their favorite films of last year. We tallied up the numbers and present the 50 highest rated titles below. The poll featured reviewers from major trade publications such as Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, as well as critics from local newspapers and websites, freelancers, and contributors on film from across Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
While the top 50 list includes many films now in the running for top Oscar season film awards, it also includes overlooked indie film gems such as “Vitalina Verela,” “Shirley,” and “Fourteen.” One of the rare studio films to appear on the list is “The Invisible Man,” the Universal-released horror movie starring Elizabeth Moss.
For the first time in the IndieWire Critics Poll’s history, the No. 1 film is directed by a woman (Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland”). Female directors had a strong showing in this year’s results, with the top three films of the year all hailing from female filmmakers (joining Zhao are Eliza Hittman with “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” and Kelly Reichardt with “First Cow”). The poll’s Best First Film category was also topped by Fennell, while the Best Documentary category was led by Kirsten Johnson’s “Dick Johnson Is Dead.”
The full critics poll includes selections in various categories such as Best Performer (Riz Ahmed took the honor in 2020 for “Sound of Metal,” followed closely by Frances McDormand in “Nomadland” and Chadwick Boseman in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Best Director (“Nomadland” director Chloe Zhao topped the list, just as she did at NYFCC and LAFCA), and Best First Feature (Emerald Fennell’s “Promising Young Woman,” which cracked the top 15 of the IndieWire Critics Poll).
Check out the complete list of the IndieWire Critics Poll top 50 films of 2020 below.