2020 was a weird year. Gone were the days of buying a movie ticket three months in advance, reserving the perfect seat, posting quick thoughts on Twitter, and forgetting about the film until awards season. Instead, much of the world found themselves in front of their screen of choice and making an event out of a new release at home.
Today, the American Film Institute (also known as AFI) announced their top 10 films of 2020. Presented in alphabetical order, the following honorees are a result of the jury process that includes AFI Trustees, artists, critics and scholars that have determined advance the art of the moving image, enhance the culture of American filmmaking, inspire artists and audiences alike and make a mark on American society.
These 20 honorees are accompanied by an AFI special award to Hamilton, the filmed version of the Lin Manuel Miranda Broadway musical of the same name that debuted on Disney+ last July, leading many Broadway fans to ask for more “pro shots” of popular Broadway musicals.
AFI’s movies of the year are Da 5 Bloods (Netflix), Judas and the Black Messiah (WB & HBO Max), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix), Mank (Netflix), Minari (A24), Nomadland (Searchlight & Hulu), One Night in Miami… (Amazon), Soul (Pixar & Disney+), Sound of Metal (Amazon), and The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix).
AFI’s television programs of the year are Better Call Saul (AMC), Bridgerton (Netflix), The Crown (Netflix), The Good Lord Bird (Showtime), Lovecraft Country (HBO), The Mandalorian (Disney+), Mrs. America (Hulu), The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix), Ted Lasso (Apple TV+) and Unorthodox (Netflix).
This year’s juries included artists Debbie Allen, Cynthia Erivo, Rian Johnson, David Mandel, Marlee Matlin, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Wes Studi and Lulu Wang; film historians Mark Harris, Molly Haskell and Leonard Maltin; the AFI Board of Trustees; film and television critics from outlets such as the Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, TV Guide and The Washington Post. The jury was chaired by AFI Board of Directors member Jeanine Basinger (Chair Emerita and Founder of the Film Studies Department, Wesleyan University) and AFI Board of Trustees Vice Chair Richard Frank (formerly Chairman of Walt Disney Television, President of Walt Disney Studios, President of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences).
AFI’s longtime sponsor, Audi, announced that each of the AFI Awards recipents will be named in a $250,000 scholarship initiviative providing AFI Conservatory scholarships.
For 20 years, AFI Awards has been a moment to gather artists in one room with a singular goal – to create community over competition, this year we cannot gather but will instead celebrate each honoree by creating exclusive content to be shared with a global audience through AFI Movie Club, shining a proper light on excellence.AFI president and CEO Bob Gazzale
AFI’s global Movie Club program will begin to showcase the awards winners this February.
The 2020 AFI Awards honorees will be recogized in a February 26 virtual event that will stream on AFI’s YouTube and on AFI.com
Enclosed is the full list of winners.
AFI MOVIES OF THE YEAR
DA 5 BLOODS
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI…
SOUND OF METAL
THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7
AFI TELEVISION PROGRAMS OF THE YEAR
BETTER CALL SAUL
THE GOOD LORD BIRD
THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT
AFI SPECIAL AWARD