Best of 2020

The boldest film of the year – Lovers Rock


Lovers Rock



The White Tiger

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Another Round

Queen & Slim

Le Corbeau, Vertigo

Last year: Joker, Mid90s

Foreign-Language Film:

The White Tiger

Another Round

Les Miserables (2019)

Last year: Parasite


Crip Camp

Dick Johnson is Dead

Last year: Rolling Thunder Review

Male Lead:

Anthony Hopkins – The Father

Adarsh Gourav – The White Tiger

Tom Hanks – News of the World

Ralph Fiennes – The Dig

Mads Mikkelsen – Another Round

Last year: Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)

Female Lead:

Frances McDormand – Nomadland

Michelle Pfeiffer – French Exit

Eliza Scanlen – Babyteeth

Kate Winslet – Ammonite

Jodie Turner-Smith – Queen & Slim

Last year: Elizabeth Debicki (Virginia, Vita & Virginia)

Male Support:

Benedict Cumberbatch – The Mauritanian
Mark Rylance – The Trial of the Chicago 7

Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7

Last year: Robert De Niro as Murray Franklin in Joker

Female Support:

Helena Zengel – News of the World

Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy

Saoirse Ronan – Ammonite

Olivia Coleman – The Father

Last year: Kaitlyn Dever as Amy in Booksmart


Steve McQueen – Lovers Rock

Shannon Murphy – Babyteeth

Thomas Vinterberg – Another Round

Ramin Bahrani – The White Tiger

Last year: Todd Phillips (Joker), Jonah Hill (Mid 90s)


Ramin Bahrani – The White Tiger

News of the World – Paul Greengrass & Luke Davies
The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Aaron Sorkin (though I don’t generally like him as a writer, too many words)

Rita Kalnejais – Babyteeth

Last year: Jonah Hill (Mid 90s)



Last year: ?


Andrew Commis – Babyteeth

Paolo Carnera – The White Tiger

Dariusz Wolski – News of the World

Hoyte van Hoytema – Tenet

Last year: Roger Deakins – 1917

Film Music:

Lovers Rock

Last year: Rolling Thunder Review


Long Tailed Winter Bird – Paul McCartney

Reborn a Queen – Naughty Alice

Kunta Kinte Dub – The Revolutionaries

Last year: Lately – Celeste


McCartney III – Paul McCartney

Letter to You – Bruce Springsteen

Last year: Ghosteen – Nick Cave


Sarah Jane Morris – Ronnie Scott’s

ROE – The Waiting Room

A Bowie Celebration – Empire, Shepherd’s Bush

Last year: Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets (Roundhouse)



Last year: A Taste of Honey (Trafalgar Studios)

Art Exhibition:

London Calling (Museum of London) – the only one I got to this year 😦

A Surge of Power by Marc Quinn going up on the base of the deposed Colston statue, Bristol

Boy & Bear – Brandon Hill, Bristol (thanks to Dylan on my birthday)

Last year: Van Gogh in Britain (Tate B)


Now We Shall Be Entirely Free – Andrew Miller

The Plague – Albert Camus

Summer – Ali Smith

Last year: A Woman of No Importance – Sonia Purnell; The Quiet American


Lovers Rock (BBC)

The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)

The Crown – S4 (Amazon)

The Romantics and Us (BBC2)

The Bridge S1

Last year: After Life (Netflix)



Adam Buxton

The Happiness Lab

Last Year: 13 Minutes to the Moon


Spurs 2 – Arsenal 1 (11.7.20)


Mam (Sadlers Wells)

Last Year: The Red Shoes (Sadlers Wells)


Statue of Edward Colston being chucked in Bristol harbour

The Winter Solstice at Newgrange, Ireland

Tim’s Twitter Listening Parties

Dearly departed:

  • Andy Taylor (with whom I worked at Little Dot and Channel 4)
  • Albert Uderzo
  • Jimmy Cobb
  • Alan Parker
  • Terry Jones
  • Carl Reiner
  • Kirk Douglas
  • Sean Connery
  • John Hume
  • Ruth Bader Ginsberg
  • Terence Conran
  • JJ Williams
  • Nobby Stiles
  • Nicholas Parsons
  • Tim Brooke Taylor

The only film I saw in the cinema after Lockdown

Best of 2019 and links to earlier Bests Of


12 comments so far

  1. theluckhabit on

    Mine will be only music and books I think. Listened to loads of new music – a great year. I think next year will be even better.

    • ArkAngel on

      It was a really good year for music, I agree

  2. theluckhabit on

    A huge number of albums this year and I am discovering more in early 2021:

    Eddie Chacon: ‘Pleasure, Joy and Happiness’
    Sault: ‘Untitled (Black is)*
    Sault: ‘Untitled (Rise’)
    Gil De Ray: ‘The Pathway to the Stars Lies Beneath Your Feet’
    Charles Webster: ‘Decision Time’
    Les Mamans Du Congo: ‘Les Mamans Du Congo et Rrobin’*
    Cleo Sol: ‘Rose in the Dark’
    Tigran Hamasyan: ‘The Call Within’
    Jyoti: ‘Mama, You Can Bet’;
    Toshihiko Mori: ‘Jinen’
    Nubya Garcia: ‘Source’
    Moses Boyd: ‘Dark Matter’
    Tom Misch and Yussef Dayes: ‘What Kinda Music’
    Oded Tzur: ‘Here Be Dragons’
    Gil Scot-Heron/Makaya McCraven: ‘We’re New Here’
    Gary Bartz and Maisha: ‘Night Dreamer’
    Robin Guthrie/Harold Budd: ‘Another Flower
    Beyond the Ghost: ‘Eternal Drift’
    Elina Duni: ‘Lost Ships’

    * Joint albums of the year. I could have chosen either Sault album – what a superb outfit they are (secret, but Cleo Sol is definitely the main singer, whose own album was superb too). There’s quite a bit of ambient music in here too – perhaps reflecting the mood of the time. The ‘Les Mamans Du Congo’ will probably be a lost classic but what a great album it is. Simple, sharp, harmonic.


    The Hallelujah Chicken Run Band: ‘Take One’ (Analog Africa) – exceptional
    Various Artists: ‘La Locura De Machuca 1975-1980’ (Analog Africa).


    Sault: ‘Free’
    Sault: ‘Wildflower’


    The last concert I went to was ‘Sir Was’ in Leeds in 2019. On the first day of freedom in early June 2020 I was able to go to Amersham and see my daughters for the first time for three months. My youngest performed five songs on guitar in the garden. There were tears in my eyes. The first humans I had seen for 3 months and the only live music all year.

    I haven’t really enjoyed the live on Facebook thing at all (just reminds me what I am missing) but Tony Kofi (sax) and Alina Bzhezhinska (harp) gave a beautiful, moving show on 22 March, the day before lockdown, from her lounge.


    Duncan Hamilton: ‘One Long and Beautiful Summer’ (the best sports book of the last ten years). It WAS beautiful, and sad too.

    Although neither were particularly well written the biography of John Martyn ‘Small Hours’ and Darren Coffield’s ‘Tales from the Colony Room – Soho’s Lost Bohemia’ were both read in one day on those lockdown days when work was beyond me. I enjoyed them.


    The sheer joy of the first day of Test Cricket in the summer, TMS back on. A thank you to the West Indies and Pakistan for coming and a hope that we honour both with a return visit soon.


    Remarkably, one year on, the Conservatives enjoy a 7pt lead in the polls. They gambled on herd immunity by widespread infection and lost that one, dramatically. Then they gambled on herd immunity by vaccination, and although they clearly thought the AZ vaccine would arrive much sooner, the dice appear to have come up. But there are still twists to come in this story and in 10-20 years I think we will ask why we didn’t completely shut down back in March like Taiwan, NZ and a few others. Turns out that the best decision for the economy was based on the best decision for the nation’s health.

    America. Enough said.


    Louis Theroux’s chat with Jon Ronson on Radio 4.
    Gilles Peterson’s daily shows on Worldwide FM during the first lockdown.

    Who we lost:

    Manu DiBango
    McCoy Tyner
    Wallace Roney
    Lyle Mays
    Bill Withers
    Lee Konitz
    Betty Wright
    Peter Green
    Ronald Bell
    Toots Hibbert
    Millie Small
    Genesis P-Orridge
    Christophe Dominici
    JJ – watch the 1974 Lions tour to South Africa.
    Mike Slemen
    Everton Weekes
    Alan ‘boom-boom’ Minter
    Frank Bough
    John Hume
    Seamus Mallon

    Country visited:

    Before Covid I managed 7 overseas trips in early 2020. The Lebanon continues to enthralled and infuriate. But I went to Dhaka, Bangladesh, then an internal flight to Jassore, then a bus ride to the port of Khulna and then working on a boat for four days as we travelled to Sunderbans – a mangrove forest in the Bay of Bengal, apparently the world’s biggest. All part of my work with UNICEF.


    Although women I sense are much better at this than men, I realised through deeper conversations than I normally have with them, the psychological challenges that men have too and which Covid-19 accentuated. And thanks to you Aarkangel for calling and for the long walk in the Sussex woods, at Graffham in August 2020. All, I am happy to report, ended well.

    Doug, March 3, 2021.

    • ArkAngel on

      Great list, thanks Doug! To save me a bit of time can you specify which records are instrumental…

  3. theluckhabit on

    Assume you mean apart from the jazz (Nubya Garcia for example). The Guthrie/Budd; Beyond the Ghost; Toshihiko Mori; Gil De Ray were all ambient. The Guthrie/Budd is fabulous for creative work.

  4. theluckhabit on

    Also wanted to add to my list – the fortnightly ‘MD’ column in Private Eye.

  5. theluckhabit on

    The ones I think you will like … Oded Tzur (Israelis making waves in jazz at the moment), Eddie Chacon and Les Mamans. I know you like a bit of African music from time to time – The Hallelujah Chicken Run re-release is pure joy. Sault are a revelation.

    • ArkAngel on

      Loving your music recommendations – discovering so much brilliant stuff which was not on my (very random) radar. Thanks!!!

      • theluckhabit on

        Good to hear. A good start to 2021 as well.

  6. theluckhabit on

    Some additional notes on those we lost: Alan ‘boom boom Minter – the first time (I think 1979) I watched a British fighter, fight for, and win a world title, against Vito Antuofermo. Along with Ken Norton beating Ali (although Ali was disgracefully given the verdict) the moment that triggered a big interest in boxing. John Hume and Seamus Mallon (such a coincidence that they died in the same year) always made sense to me when speaking about NI’s future. I remember them well from my 3 years in Coleraine, at the time of the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement. I find it hard to believe that some of the politicians from that time are still around – Sammy Wilson, John Taylor, Gregory Campbell for example, and don’t seem to have shifted even 1cm in their views. As an habitual radio 4 listener really should have included Tim Brooke-Taylor and Nicholas Parsons. And a mention for the stalwart cricketers – Robin Jackman, John Edrich and David Capel.

    • ArkAngel on

      So far enjoyed Les Mamans Du Congo

  7. […] Best of 2020 and links to earlier Bests Of [there is no Best of 2021 …yet] […]

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